Bhopal gas tragedy activists seek removal of toxic waste, action against Dow Chemicals

     Activists and family members of the victims of Bhopal gas tragedy here on Monday sought adequte compensation, removal of the toxic waste and filling of criminal cases against Dow Chemical. The activists lamented that the victims of tragedy had not been paid adequate compensation yet. "Bhopal gas victims have not yet received adequate compensation. Now the government is going to give compensation. The set up committee has recommended for compensation. We demand the families of injured should get rupees five lakh and families of deceased should get rupees 10 lakh rupees," Abdul Niyaz, activist of Bhopal Gas Pirit Nyay Morcha, in New Delhi. Satinath Sarangi, an activist of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action, sought safe disposal of toxic waste buried in the ground. "We think if the intention of government is clean, while fixing the responsibility on Dow Chemical the work on cleaning should begin," said Satinath Sarangi in Bhopal city. Other activists demanded that criminal cases be filed against the Dow Chemical Company. "There should be criminal cases filed against Dow Chemical and also environment damage cases. But it is not mentioned in these recommendations. We want criminal cases and environment damage cases filed against Dow Chemicals," said Lal Krishna Namdev, an activist in central Bhopal city. Meanwhile, the Group of Ministers (GoM), that went into a whole range of issues, including relief and rehabilitation of the victims, has reportedly finalised a Rs 1,500 crore package for enhancing compensation for the kin of those who died and those debilitated in the Bhopal gas disaster today in New Delhi. The GoM, headed by Home Minister P Chidambaram,is believed to have recommended payment of Rs 10 lakh to the next of kin of the dead in the world's worst industrial disaster nearly 26 years ago. Those permanently disabled or suffering from critical ailments arising out of the deadly methyl isocyanate gas leak are likely to get Rs five lakh while those partially debilitated will get Rs three lakh. These are among the recommendations of the GoM made to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in a report that will be considered by the Union Cabinet at a special meeting on Friday. As per government sources, around 3,500 people died immediately due to the gas leak but social activists say the actual figures touched 25,000 in the years that followed. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had appointed a Group of Ministers to examine all aspects of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster which was expected to give its recommendations on Monday.

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