Bhopal: Leaders of five organisations representing survivors of the Bhopal gas tragedy have called on the United States Government to acknowledge and express regret for financing, through its EXIM Bank, the construction of the hazardously designed Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh that caused the 1984 tragedy.
Demanding punishment for the guilty at the earliest, and appropriate compensation for surviving victims and survivors of those who had died, Abdul Jabbar, representing a gas victim women`s` organization, claimed that the government is misrepresenting facts insofar as the death and injury toll was concerned.
"The official figure of the death toll is 15,274. But, I believe more than 35,000 people have died due to the effects of the toxic gas. And, approximately, there are over a 100,000 people who can be called physically weak and about 200,000 people have been going to the hospital" said Jabbar.
According to him, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) failed to look into the health needs of the people, when it had been ordered to do so by the federal government.
Satinath Sarangi from Bhopal Group of Information and Action appealed to the government that any ties with the U.S. multinational must be snapped and proper compensation should be provided to them.
"The government should stop the investments of DOW chemicals in the nation until DOW Chemicals and Union Carbide are held responsible. The new government that is to be formed again could take a new beginning after 29 years of the tragedy, so as to bring an end to the survivors` struggle. They should provide the victims with complete treatment, employment and appropriate compensation," he said.
"The attitude of the governments is just the same as it was 29 years ago. They have always supported Union carbide and left Bhopal gas victims as if they are insects," said Hamida, a victim of the Bhopal gas tragedy.