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Bhopal waiting to happen in Tamil Nadu, warns campaign

New Kerala
Posted on 04 Dec 2005

Chennai: Hundreds of volunteers held a candle light rally on a rain-washed beach here to draw attention to the possibility of Bhopal-like industrial disasters in Tamil Nadu on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.

The participants at the rally Saturday night at Elliots Beach, held placards in support of the victims of industrial pollution in Bhopal, Cuddalore, Mettur, Kasargode and Vietnam.

Organisers of the event, the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal, warned that several Bhopal-like situations loomed in Tamil Nadu also.

The campaign singled out several industrial units in the state as hazardous for the environment, which it termed as "evidence of the state's failure to safeguard citizens and the environment".

The industrial units pointed out by the campaign include the Chemplast and Malco factory complexes in Mettur, the SIPCOT Industrial Estate in Cuddalore, the Ennore-Manali Petrochemical belt, Sterlite's copper smelter in Tuticorin, Orchid Chemical's factory in Alathur, the dyeing units in Tirupur and Hindustan Lever's mercury waste dumps in Kodaikanal.

On the occasion, a street play was also organised where children from Urur-Olcott Kuppam, a tsunami-hit settlement, highlighted the threats of industrial pollution in Tamil Nadu.

More than 20,000 people died in Bhopal on Dec 2-3 in 1984 after the leak of poisonous gas from a Union Carbide factory. A criminal case is pending against the company for the accident and the survivors of the tragedy are still fighting for compensation.

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