The infamous incident of Bhopal Gas Tragedy completes inglorious 35 years today. It has been one of the most degenerated forms of environmental calamity that ever struck the humankind. On this day, the horrific incident caused 8,000 immediate deaths and more than 25,000 deaths in the next few decades. The data shows that more than 1,50,000 people have been caused to suffer from some form of a permanent disability.
The rust ridden plant, situated in the middle of the old city of Bhopal, is a living example of how the tryst with unchecked development and industrial processes can go horribly wrong, affecting future generations. The plant is also a testament to the fact that very half-hearted efforts have been put forward to restore the environmental value of the region.
The area near the plant continues to bear the burden of 340 tons of buried hazardous waste. Soil and water continue to show high levels of toxic pollutants affecting the birth of newborns in the region. All of this has been well documented in the reports of the Indian Cancer Institute, United Nations, MP Pollution Control board and other relevant agencies.
This year’s anniversary of Bhopal Gas Tragedy Day is also a tribute to the spirit of Jabbar Bhai (Abdul Jabbar) who fought relentlessly for the rights of women and children. His undented efforts to take on against the system (including political class) through protest marches and PILs helped him achieve social justice and equity for the ones who suffered the most due to the world’s worst industrial disaster.
His judicial interventions helped victims get the right compensation and medical rehabilitation. His fighting spirit was worth learning. Undivided Madhya Pradesh witnessed the birth of three memorable social movements – the Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha of late Shankar Guha Niyogi, Narmada Bachao Andolan of Medha Patkar and the third led by Abdul Jabbar.
Amidst thousands of compensation claims, crumbling medical rehab process and unsympathetic system; Union Carbide Plant continues to stand tall, burying 340 tons of hazardous waste. May God bless all the departed ones and their families.