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BBC World to air documentary on Bhopal tragedy

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MUMBAI: BBC World will telecast The World Uncovered: One Night In Bhopal on 4 December at 1:40 pm with a repeat telecast at 5:40 pm on the same day.

The show presents sequences of events that led to the biggest industrial disaster in history, occured on 2 December 1984. BBC World tells the story of that one night in Bhopal through the eyes of the people who lived there.

As part of The World Uncovered strand, One Night in Bhopal is a compelling documentary that tells the story of the lives of five people who lived and worked in Bhopal. Mehboobs husband was employed by Union Carbide as a maintenance worker. He survived that night, but suffered lung and chest infections for the next fifteen years of his life before eventually dying of TB. She also lost two sons to the tragedy and is today deeply in debt to money lenders. Kumkum was a doctor who resigned from the company after her concerns about safety were ignored. Helping at the local hospital that night she saw the effects of that policy first hand, informs an official release.

On the 2 December 1984 at the Union Carbide plant a routine maintenance operation was transformed into a disaster. Union Carbide claims this was as a result of sabotage but whatever the original cause the effects should have been contained. Instead a huge quantity of MIC escaped from the factory and drifted into the sleeping city, with catastrophic results. As the gas drifted into the city its toxic effects killed hundreds while they slept and hundreds more as they fled for their lives. Estimates say 8,000 were killed on that night alone, with more than 200,000 injured.

Now, 20 years on, the suffering in Bhopal shows little sign of improvement. The health effects were ruinous, the death toll continues to grow and thousands remain disabled by chronic symptoms. The compensation paid by Union Carbide is patchily distributed and no-one ever faced criminal charges for the neglect that led to the disaster. The terrible after effects of that one night in Bhopal continue to this day.

The show also features Swaraj, the local police superintendent who worked to restore calm on the night. Heavily exposed to the gas he is now a sick man, angry that justice as he sees it has not been done. Shahid was left orphaned by the tragedy and himself suffers breathlessness and dizziness. Today he helps victims of the gas seek medical help. And Suman was a young technician at the factory whose life was saved due to an oxygen mask. He could not prevent the tragedy but was there to witness it first hand, a burden he carries with him to this day, the release adds.

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