With no basic facilities, Bhopal gas tragedy widows now pray for death
It's been 30 years since tragedy struck this capital city of Madhya Pradesh. Though life has now returned to normal, many women whose husbands died after the gas leak at the Union Carbide factory are praying to god for death.
By Sandeep Pauranik/IANS
Bhopal: It's been 30 years since tragedy struck this capital city of Madhya Pradesh. Though life has now returned to normal, many women whose husbands died after the gas leak at the Union Carbide factory are praying to god for death.
Three decades have passed but the darkness that hit their lives is ever present.
Though a colony was created by the state Housing Board for rehabilitating the women who lost their husbands in the tragedy, the widows say they are not even getting the bare minimum facilities.
Mewa Bai, one of the widows, said she was living happily in Chhola area at the time of the gas tragedy.
Her husband worked at a furniture shop, but the intervening night of 2 and 3 December, 1984, "brought a curse" to her life.
The gas tragedy not only killed her husband but also gave her breathlessness.
She said now she is not able to walk even four-five steps at a time.
"My life has become hell. Many hospitals do not have medicines, and, if there are any, my economic condition doesn't allow me to buy them," Mewa Bai told IANS.
Kusum Bai, who lives in the same colony, gets upset whenever the tragedy is discussed.
Her husband Jairam died following the gas tragedy and she herself is now struggling with illnesses.
"I can't eat and can't walk properly. Life has become a burden for me. I pray to god to free me from this wretched life," Kusum Bai told IANS.
Munifa Bi, who lost her father Gulab Khan in the tragedy, said the government made many promises in the past but did not fulfill any.
"The entire country is discussing the cleanliness drive, but no one is ready to come to clean this colony," Munifa Bi told IANS.
Abdul Jabbar, convener of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan, said the widows are living in very harsh conditions, partially due to problems in getting family pension after their husbands died.
The Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted for the Bhopal gas tragedy victims had decided in June 2010 on a monthly pension of Rs.1,000 for five years to each of the widows. However, "the pension was stopped in April," Jabbar told IANS.
Many of the widows have no other source of income. The family pension was their last support and even that has now eluded them, he said.
The company says delays are being used to besmirch the reputation of its parent firm, Dow Chemicals.
Out of 10,29,517 claim cases, after due adjudication by Office of the Welfare Commissioner, compensation was awarded in 5,74,376 cases.