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CPI(M) demands all-party meet for Bhopal package

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - 15:57

New Delhi: CPI(M) Tuesday demanded an
all-party meeting to discuss the proposed Bhopal compensation
package, saying it was based on "flawed estimation" of deaths
and injuries and there was no liability on Dow Chemicals.

In a letter to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, party
General Secretary Prakash Karat said the Union Cabinet should
take a final decision only after an all-party meeting, in
which gas victims` organisations should also be invited.

Karat "appreciated" the Prime Minister`s intention to
take speedy decisions on payment of enhanced compensation,
medical treatment and the clean up measures to be taken at the
site of the plant, but wanted him to consider these issues.

"Since providing justice and adequate compensation for
the victims of the gas tragedy has dragged on for 26 years, it
is important that the views of the large number of people
affected should be taken into account. Further, there are
questions about who is liable for the damages and the
remediation measures to be undertaken," Karat wrote.

Keeping this in view, the CPI(M) leader urged the
Prime Minister to call a meeting of all political parties
along with the representatives of the organizations of gas
victims to discuss the GoM recommendations.

"It would be better if the Union Cabinet takes a final
decision on the recommendations of the GoM after such a
meeting," Karat said.

In a statement, the CPI(M) Politburo said the
compensation package offered was based on "flawed estimation
of deaths and injuries and the amount of compensation offered
remains meagre".

The top CPI(M) body said there were "two serious
problems" regarding the recommendations of the GoM.
"Firstly, the compensation package offered is based on
flawed estimation of deaths and injuries and the amount of
compensation offered remains meagre.

"Secondly, there is no serious effort to make the Dow
Chemical Company, which took over the Union Carbide, liable
for the damages and compensation. The entire expenses for the
remediation and environmental clean up at the Bhopal factory
site should be borne by the Dow Chemical Company", the
Politburo said.

Pointing out that Dow had "invested and set-up a
number of enterprises in India", the CPI(M) recommended that
the government "can take a firm stand asking the Dow Chemical
to pay up, failing which the company can be blacklisted and
measures taken against it."

"It is not enough to pursue the long pending case in a
court in Madhya Pradesh," the CPI(M) said, asking the
government to "implement the `polluter pays principle` in
full" to adequately compensate the victims of the Bhopal gas

It also welcomed the GoM suggestion to restart the
unit of the Indian Council of Medical Research and the
takeover of the Bhopal Memorial Hospital Trust.


First Published: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - 15:57
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