What is the value of an Indian life?
Do you know how much the US corporation had to pay to its victims in Bhopal? Can you guess? First look at what was paid in other disasters:
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* In the Mangalore air disaster, compensation extended to an offer of employment for one family member
No one will forget the horror of September 11, 2001, when thousands of innocent people died in New York’s Twin Towers. The night of terror in Bhopal, where thousands died in horrible ways and more than half a million were injured, was no less horrific a human tragedy, but the value placed on the lives of two sets of innocent victims could hardly be in starker contrast.
The number of dead in New York was a tenth those who have died from gas-related injuries Each American life was valued at more than a thousand times higher than a Bhopali life.
We don’t begrudge the families of the New York victims their compensation, nor are our people asking for anything remotely like the same amount, but the sum the Bhopal survivors were paid was a pittance by any standards.
The $494 they received, meant to last for the rest of their lives, hardly covered their medical bills in the first months. Over 27 years of suffering it comes to Rs 2.50 or 5¢ per day.
After Dow Chemical acquired Union Carbide a Dow spokesperson commented that “$500 is plenty good for an Indian.”