Bhopal disasterPanel urges extradition, compensation in Bhopal disaster case

Published 21 June 2010

The 1984 Bhopal chemical plant disaster caused the death of 15,000; hundreds of thousands were permanently disabled; and thousands of children were born with birth defects; an Indian government panel has decided to seek the extradition of former Union Carbide Corp. chief Warren Anderson to sand trial in India for; the panel also recommended that the Indian government demand that Dow Chemical Co. — which acquired Union Carbide in 1999 — pay $325 million in compensation for the families of the dead and disabled

An Indian government panel on the 1984 Bhopal disaster today recommended seeking the extradition of former Union Carbide Corp. chief Warren Anderson, enhanced compensation for victims, and cleanup of the toxic site.

Earth Times reports that Premier Manmohan Singh had ordered a group of ministers to explore “options and remedies” after a disappointing court verdict on the gas leak that claimed at least 15,000 lives. Eight former officials of Union Carbide’s Indian subsidiary were sentenced to two-year jail terms for criminal negligence, a charge usually applied in cases of motor accidents.

Indians were also angered that the government had agreed to a low compensation sum and wondered why Anderson was allowed to leave the country instead of facing trial.


Our focus now is on bringing relief to the people who have suffered. There are thousands who continue to suffer. We think we have made significant recommendations,” Home Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram said.

He said the cabinet will meet Friday to discuss the panel’s recommendations. “We have dealt with all the issues, compensation, legal issues, including the issues of pursuing the extradition of Warren Anderson, the legal options available with the government of India,” he said.

Another panel source said it recommended a payment of 1 million rupees (approximately $22,000) compensation to the relatives of the dead, and 500,000 rupees to those who suffered permanent disability.

Total compensation would be $325 million, the PTI news agency reported.

Scientists will perform a comprehensive cleanup of the abandoned factory, which will be dismantled and a memorial built, the NDTV news channel reported.

The government will also seek damages against Dow Chemical Co. — which acquired Union Carbide in 1999 — in a local court. Dow said it had already settled all its liabilities in the case.