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Organisations championing the cause of the Bhopal gas victims Friday protested the new compensation package announced by the government and demanded proper categorisation of the victims.

Protesting the government’s new package announced Thursday, seven organisations contested the government’s figures of the victims, claiming that the actual number stands in lakhs.

“The government says that only 3,000 victims died in the mishap, but the actual number is over 574,000. Even the proper number of the dead and the injured is not in the hospital records,” N.D. Jayprakash of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Sangharsh Sahayog Samiti told reporters.

The government Thursday announced a hike in ex-gratia relief for the Bhopal gas tragedy victims with the cabinet approving assistance of Rs.1,265.56 crore for the medical and social rehabilitation of those affected by the disaster.

“We want a proper categorisation of those affected by the tragedy. The compensation which was given on the basis of earlier categories needs to be revised,” said Hamida Bi of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sangathan.

Meanwhile, Jayprakash said the organisations had filed a petition in the Supreme Court April 23 for the enhancement of compensation.

“All the 574,000 victims need to be provided proper medical examination,” he added.

The organisations also demanded a proper study of the extent of damage caused by the toxic waste on the ground water and soil of the area around the Union Carbide plant.

“No study has been carried out till now in and around the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) plant area and the report which has been submitted is worthless and incorrect.. This shows that the government is trying to evade a solution,” Syed M. Irfan of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purus Sangharsh Morcha said.

They wondered why the government was reluctant in taking action against Dow Chemicals, which has bought Union Carbide, as liable for the disaster. The government should ensure that Dow pays for clean up of the area, Irfan added.

However, the organisations welcomed the government’s move to extradite then Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson in the Bhopal case.

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