Bhopal Victims Receive Compensation, Protest Lack of Action by Government

Sept. 7, 2004
While $327.5 million part of the compensation package paid to the Indian government by Union Carbide in an out-of-court settlement stemming from the Bhopal gas leak may seem like a lot of money, it must now be divided up among some 578,000 claimants.

The Indian government has held onto the money for 15 years, and on Aug. 19, the Indian Supreme Court ordered the money released to pay the claims of victims of the Dec. 3, 1984 methyl isocyanate gas leak in Bhopal, which killed 3,000 people outright and caused another 15,000 deaths due to gas-related health conditions. As many as 500,000 people were exposed to the gas, and thousands still receive daily medical treatment related to those injuries.

When the settlement was reached in 1989, it was to be used to compensate victims for an estimated 3,000 deaths and 103,000 injuries. Since then, nearly five times the original number of claimants have stepped forward. According to the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Department, by the end of October 2003, judgment had been made on more than 1 million claims, with compensation being awarded but not paid out to 554,895 people for injury and 15,310 claims for deaths.

The day the Supreme Court announced its ruling, dozens of Bhopal victims protested what they called the government's failure to punish former Union Carbide chairman Warren Anderson and others for the tragedy. The protestors, who burned an effigy of Anderson, want him extradicted to India to stand trial. Last year, India agreed last year to press for the extradition of Andersonon charges of "culpable homicide not amounting to murder."

In June, the U.S. Justice Department rejected the extradition request on procedural grounds. Anderson is now 82 years old.

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

Sponsored Recommendations

Free Webinar: ISO 45001 – A Commitment to Occupational Health, Safety & Personal Wellness

May 30, 2024
Secure a safer and more productive workplace using proven Management Systems ISO 45001 and ISO 45003.

ISO 45003 – Psychological Health and Safety at Work

May 30, 2024
ISO 45003 offers a comprehensive framework to expand your existing occupational health and safety program, helping you mitigate psychosocial risks and promote overall employee...

DH Pace, national door and dock provider, reduces TRIR and claims with EHS solution

May 29, 2024
Find out how DH Pace moved from paper/email/excel to an EHS platform, changing their culture. They reduced TRIR from 4.8 to 1.46 and improved their ability to bid on and win contracts...

Case Study: Improve TRIR from 4+ to 1 with EHS Solution and Safety Training

May 29, 2024
Safety training and EHS solutions improve TRIR for Complete Mechanical Services, leading to increased business. Moving incidents, training, and other EHS procedures into the digital...

Voice your opinion!

To join the conversation, and become an exclusive member of EHS Today, create an account today!