Court Releases Compensation for Bhopal Survivors

July 19, 2004 | Comments Off on Court Releases Compensation for Bhopal Survivors

India’s Supreme Court ordered the release of millions of rupees of compensation for the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy of December 1984.   Three thousand people died in the days after a leakage at the Union Carbide pesticide plant.  20,000 more died later from the long-term impacts, such as disease:

The court directed that 15bn rupees ($327.5m) be distributed among the more than 500,000 victims and dependants.

Some of the original compensation figure of $470m has already been paid out, but legal delays held up the rest.

After initial distribution to settle some individual claims, the remainder of the money was held up.  Similarly, following the 1984 Pogroms of Sikhs in India, allocations of compensation were held up in 1985.  As described in Twenty Years of Impunity: The November 1984 Pogroms of Sikhs in India:

[F]or claims filed after July 1985, the commissioner required death certificates, FIRs, and a copy of the ration card.  Many families never received death certificates and police had refused to record FIRs or the names of the deceased. Thus, the Commissioner’s new policy precluded relief for these families. The Delhi Administration had also promised to allocate flats at reduced prices to widows. Many widows were given one-bedroom apartments. In 1989, however, the government demanded Rs. 42,000 for the price of a flat in the ghetto of Tilak Vihar, a widows’ colony with 1600 families. Making about Rs. 1000 a month, with Rs. 300 going to bus fare, the widows could not afford medical care, much less the price of the flats.


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