Today on the 36th anniversary of Bhopal gas tragedy, we remember the fateful intervening night of December 2-3, 1984 when the world witnessed the worst industrial disaster.
Over 15,000 people were killed after methyl isocyanate leaked from the pesticide plant of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) in the city of Bhopal. More than five lakh people were affected due to the toxic leak.
The toxic gas spread to small towns and nearby villages. In the days to follow, as many as 5 lakh people were exposed to the gas, and more than 3700 people died due to the disaster.
People of that era have not forgotten the catastrophic night even today. There were after effects, such as increased cases of cancer and birth defects, which were reported in years to come.
While pollution has always been a major concern, the 1984 Bhopal Gas Tragedy acted as an alarm for authorities to be more careful and avoid such accidents in the future.
This year there has been an added tragedy to the lives of Bhopal gas victims. The Madhya Pradesh government on Wednesday said that the Covid-19 pandemic had claimed the lives of 102 survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.
Till December 2, COVID-19 has claimed 518 lives in Bhopal district. Of them, 102 are Bhopal gas tragedy survivors. Out of these 102 people, 69 were above 50 years of age, while the remaining 33 were aged below 50, Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Director Basant Kurre said as per PTI.
However as reported by NDTV, some NGOs claimed that as many as 254 survivors of the Bhopal disaster have died due to the infection till now. The different death figures were revealed on the eve of the 36th anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy.
Rachna Dhingra of NGO Bhopal Group for Information and Action (BGIA) claimed, As per the states health bulletin, 518 people have died due to COVID-19 in Bhopal district so far. We visited the houses of 450 of these deceased to find out whether they were gas victims or not. Out of these 450 people, 254 were found to be the Bhopal gas tragedy survivors.