Central Government to seek enhanced compensation on Bhopal Gas Tragedy

      The Central Government is expected to file a curative petition in the Supreme Court seeking enhancement of the compensation paid by Dow Chemicals and its subsidiary Union Carbide to the victims of the December 3, 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy by Rs 1500 crore. It has been reported that the Government's petition in this regard is complete and is awaiting the consent of a senior law officer. The petition that will be filed by the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers has pointed out that the 470 million US dollar settlement arrived at by the apex court in its decision in February, 1989, was allegedly based on incorrect calculation and reasoning. It was based on the incorrect assumption that there were only 3,000 deaths due to the gas leak. However, the death toll later turned out to be higher, at 5,295. Earlier on August 5, Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Prithviraj Chavan said the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has recently sent additional evidence against former Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson to the Ministry of External Affairs in connection with his extradition proceedings in the case. The CBI had on August 2 filed a filed a curative petition in the Supreme Court seeking restoration of stringent charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder against the accused in the Bhopal Gas tragedy case. The Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted to examine all aspects of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster, seeking Anderson's extradition apart from measures to clean up the disaster site, had submitted the report to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh on June 21. The GoM had dealt with all the issues - compensation, legal issues, including the issue of the extradition of Warren Anderson, the legal options available to the Government of India, and most importantly, remediation matters, and health related matters. Union Carbide settled its liabilities to the Indian government in 1989 by paying 470 million dollars before being bought by another US company, Dow Chemical. In the early hours of December 3, 1984, around 40 metric tonnes of toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked into the atmosphere and was carried by wind to surrounding slums. The Government says around 3,500 died in one of India's most horrific of industrial disasters. Rights activists, however, claim that 25,000 people have died so far.

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