Bhopal tragedy: No compensation after 37 years


A one-month protest show, where the government stands on the Bhopal gas tragedy.

Bhopal gas tragedy survivors still have not received compensation 37 years after the incident—they launched a one-month campaign seeking answers from the government. December 3, 2021 marks the 37th anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.

Satinath Sarangi is the founder of Sambhava Trust Clinic. The clinic treats survivors free of cost and conducts surveys and health educational exercises related to the tragedy. Bhopal gas tragedy Satinath said, “Four prominent NGOs of Bhopal were part of the protest that happened from November 26 to December 1 2021. During the protest, 37 questions were asked each day from the government about the tragedy.” He added that one of the questions was about the allocation of Rs 40 crores in 2010 for 2500 families living near the Union Carbide factory. Their houses were affected by groundwater contamination.

In 2004, Indira Jaising, the lawyer for the tragedy victims, said that there were only 105,000 victims to be compensated in line with the $470 million settlement. Later, she mentioned that the Court order is ready to recognize that there were over 570,000 more claimants who need to be compensated.

“Supreme Court promised monetary funds to the gas tragedy survivors and the amount given is really less. It can hardly cover the medical expenses of so many survivors,” said Rachna Dhingra, member of Bhopal Group for Information and Action (BGIA), the leading NGO working for the survivors. She added that the compensation that needs to be given by the Dow Chemical Company has not been mentioned anywhere.

Rashida Bee, survivor, Goldman Environmental Awardee and President of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh said that the government promised to compensate the survivors but this has not happened yet.  She added, “Instead they are building a memorial on the place of the factory,”       

During the protest, Shehzadi, a survivor and member of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, asked about the medical facilities for these survivors. She said that Covid-19 has affected the survivors.  “To assess the intensity, we visited many houses to see whether the covid patients were gas victims or not, to our surprise out of 450 covid patients 254 were gas tragedy survivors,” she added. 

Uma Bai, a 67-year-old survivor, said that she is a widow and had applied for the pension in 2017 since she lost her family to the tragedy.  But because she has not been given any compensation, she depends on her neighbors for financial support.