It isn't over until it really is over.
Like this great article says, the real tragedy of Bhopal is, perhaps, that it is still unfolding. That people still fall sick and need regular treatment and lose jobs because they are sick so often. And yes, there's a hospital, where 'Everything is free. But there is a price on every treatment'.
“Twenty rupees for the bed, 50 rupees for the blood test,” says his daughter. Khan’s lungs have weakened to the point where he cannot work any more. He is entitled to a pension, which was recently increased to about Rs 300 from Rs 150. This is yet another heartbreak. To be eligible for the new pension, he has to fill out a form. And for the last two months, he says, he has been going to the local nagar nigam office only to be told that the forms have not reached.'
Nice, no? A pension of Rs 300. And it was Rs 150 until recently. Makes you proud to be Indian, eh? We give old and sick people a pension! A whole 150 rupees.
The article also goes on to cite studies that show that the land is still 'highly' contaminated with chemical like Carbyl. And "Carbaryl, says the report, damages brain and nervous system, and causes endocrine disruption and abnormal child development."
Plus, there's no money to research the illnesses associated with the tragedy - and some doctors are asking for less than Rs 2 crore to initiate research.
Plus, the houses they built for the widows are such that in the Widhwa Colony, barely two kilometers from the Carbide factory, "It is difficult to say which is the bigger disaster – that so many men died, or, that their widows now lead such a deprived existence. All the houses are shoddily built. In one home, the wall was so poorly connected to the stairway it was meant to support, that the two have pulled away altogether. Other houses had finger-thick holes in the walls, the outcome of residents trying to hammer nails in. There are sanitation issues too — the water pipe has been laid underground a foot away from the sewage pipe."
Sometimes I think Bhopal is a sign-board, a laser beam that points to the fact that we have made a mockery of ourselves, nationhood, democracy. Whatever our 'Indian values' comprise, justice doesn't seem to be on the list.