December 3, 2009

Selwakumar Case study: Tragedy of Indian Gas leak 1984

Selwakumar: The day is getting old and the sun&moon comes and goes but the mindset and the issues of the people who were victim for the Gas tragedy continues…..

What is Bhopal tragedy
In the early morning hours of December 3, 1984, a poisonous grey cloud (forty tons of toxic gases) from Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL’s)1 pesticide plant at Bhopal spread throughout the city. Water carrying catalytic material had entered Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) storage tank No. 610. What followed was a nightmare.

The killer gas spread through the city, sending residents scurrying through the dark streets. No alarm ever sounded a warning and no evacuation plan was prepared. When victims arrived at hospitals breathless and blind, doctors did not know how to treat them, as UCIL had not provided emergency information.
It was only when the sun rose the next morning that the magnitude of the devastation was clear. Dead bodies of humans and animals blocked the streets, leaves turned black, the smell of burning chilli peppers lingered in the air.

Estimates suggested that as many as 10,000 may have died immediately and 30,000 to 50,000 were too ill to ever return to their jobs.

Status on today
Long back, after 25 years, victims are still suffering serious health problems. On an average, 6,000 gas-affected patients visit hospitals in Bhopal every day, that is, about 2 million visits per year. The government adopted a one-size-fits-all policy for categorisation of injuries — a person with compromised lungs may ultimately develop other diseases, besides being unable to work fully. But such distinctions were not maintained and meagre compensation was doled out. Sadhana Pradhan, who has worked among the gas victims since the disaster in 1984 points out that no line of treatment was ever evolved. “The government has treated the victims on an ad hoc basis,” she says. Medical records are yet not centralized as recommended by the monitoring committee set up by the Supreme Court in 2004. As a result, doctors have no idea about the patients’ history. “This has led to development of multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB in many cases,” says Dr Saxena, who spent 11 years in the government’s TB hospital in Bhopal.

Another dimension of the ongoing tragedy of Bhopal is the poisonous chemical waste lying around in the abandoned premises of the pesticide plant. Several committees have inspected it and found 44,000 kgs of tarry residues and 25,000 kgs of alpha naphthol lying in the open since 1984. Various studies have established that the soil, ground water, vegetables and even breast milk have traces of toxic chemicals.

Believe the day will come for the people of Bhopal to save their future and at least their next generation..

Please comment and support on this article to remember the victims of the great tragedy.


  1. yes..., I Believe the day will come for the people of Bhopal to save their future and at least their next generation.

  2. great post. nice information. thank you.

  3. Very nice to quote the sadful disaster... Let GOD shows way for them to a bright and healthy future...

  4. great idea.........Let prayer for their health