New Delhi: With fresh revelations on the complicity of the Congress Party in allowing safe passage to Warren Anderson, chairman of Union Carbide and the chief accused in the Bhopal gas tragedy, emerging by the day and the party itself scrambling to control collateral damage on a daily basis it now appears that it opposed applications filed on behalf of the victims to have the compensation amount enhanced as recently as 2007.
Fresh reports emerging in the media have brought to fore two applications filed by NGOs – the Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Udyog Sanghathan (BGPMUS) and the Bhopal Gas Peedith Sangharsh Sahayog Samiti (BGPSSS) - before the country's apex court seeking "re-examination of the inadequacy of Bhopal Gas Settlement and to direct Union of India to compensate the settlement fund five times the initial fund" among other relief.
Reports point out that the NGOs petitioned the Supreme Court to note that the government had neither taken care to identify all eligible victims in the tragedy nor did it provided adequate compensation for them. The petition also pointed out that the estimate on which the settlement fund was created was too conservative and accordingly the compensation paid out to victims and their families woefully inadequate.
It was pointed out that the magnitude of the disaster, in terms of death as well as injuries, was at least five times larger than that assumed in 1989, when it was estimated that at least 3,000 people died and 30,000 were injured. The correct figure stands close to five times that 1989 estimate.
The UPA government vigorously opposed the plea arguing it was based on "assumptions, surmises and conjecture and on misreading of the judgments of the Supreme Court".
In its arguments the Centre said, "NGOs were trying to reopen the issue of compensation which had been settled with the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) and the Union of India and that the SC had approved the said settlement."