Judge Orders Payments to Bhopal Victims Released
Yesterday, the Supreme Court of India ordered the government to release the remaining compensation owed the victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas leak, the world’s worst industrial disaster, which left some 20,000 people dead, 120,000 chronically ill, and groundwater poisoned to this day. The original compensation paid by Union Carbide to the Indian government in 1989 amounted to $470 million, but only a fraction has been paid out to community residents, with the rest tied up in court by disputes over the status of victims. The court ordered Bhopal’s welfare commission to supervise the payments to residents and report back in two months. Victims are also seeking further compensation from Dow Chemical (which bought Union Carbide in 1999), saying the original payment was totally inadequate, and the Indian government continues to pursue criminal charges against former Union Carbide Chair Warren Anderson.