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What India learnt after 30 years of Bhopal Gas Tragedy?
Thirty years after the Bhopal gas tragedy, what is it that India has learnt? Answering this question at a public meeting held here today, Sunita Narain, Director General of Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), said that post-Bhopal, India improved its legislations for chemical industrial disasters and worker safety, but it is an unfinished business.
She said, "Even if we have not seen (thankfully) another horrific human tragedy like on the night of December 2, 1984, the country continues to have many min-Bhopals - industrial accidents, which take lives and throw up a huge challenge of hazardous waste contamination."

Narain added, "Thirty years later, there is no closure. Not because of what happened that fateful night, but because our response has been incompetent and callous. Bhopal was struck by two tragedies: one that happened immediately, and the other that unfolded in the years to come."

The meeting Narain was speaking at was organised by CSE to commemorate 30 years of one of the world's worst industrial disasters. The meeting included a panel discussion involving Indira Jaising, senior Supreme Court advocate who has represented the Bhopal victims; Raaj Kumar Keswani, Bhopal-based journalist who was one of the first to highlight safety issues at the Union Carbide factory - before the tragedy happened; Vijay ManoharTiwari, author of Adhi Raat Ka Sach, a book that explores how Bhopal has been forgotten.

The panel discussed that as India industrialises with greater frenzy, the lessons of Bhopal must be understood. The panelists released a book published by CSE - Bhopal Gas Tragedy: After 30 years - on the occasion. An exhibition of photographs was also organised to mark the anniversary.

People of Bhopal are also suffering another legacy of Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL). For 15 years, UCIL dumped toxic wastes within and outside the plant. These wastes are still lying at the site, polluting soil and groundwater and affecting the health of the local community. This second legacy – Bhopal Disaster 2.0 – now threatens even a larger number of people than the first one.

Chandra Bhushan, Deputy Director General, CSE said, "The worst part is thatcleaning and decontamination of the site have got embroiled in legalwrangles over how to clean the site, what should be done withthe waste and who should pay for it?"

Meanwhile, the pollution continues to spread and engulf more areas. Dow Chemical, which has acquired UCC, denies the liability to clean it up. 

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