Bhopal Tragedy and Politics

On Dec 2-3, 1984, poisonous methyl-iso-cyanate gas leaked from the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal in the night, killing thousands immediately and many more over the years and maiming several others. I am sure the Bhopal tragedy was a major industrial accident. No company or its senior most executive will plan it to happen like the politically planned mishaps in which hundreds and thousands of people are killed, be it 1984 Delhi or Gujarat communal riots.

I don’t understand the mess getting created by media about Bhopal tragedy and its purpose. Is it being done to provide the sufficient compensation to the victim families or pinpoint the responsibilities of the accident? Should it not be for creating act and laws and conditions so that such mishaps don’t occur? And even if it occurs in extremely unpredictable cases, how can the human sufferings are reduced with prompt medical care and later on with sufficient compensation for those who survive?

Something must be built into the system to find out if the mishaps are because of lack of robust design and production processes with insufficient quality checks for the plant machinery used or because of not following the preventive maintenance to ensure the health of the industrial equipment and system.

It can certainly be a fault of an individual or group if the set practices are bypassed because of some personal unethical gains.

I personally don’t fix the blame on Warren Anderson just because he happened to be the chief executive of Union carbide at that time or on Keshab Mahindra. However, they would have done their best to mitigate the after-affects. They can be guilty of ignoring the basic human responsibility.

However, the funniest media battle on Bhopal tragedy after the recent judgment of the apex court is nothing but political for interparty and intraparty gains as well as scuffling of the buck between the government, administration, and judiciary too.

Union Law Minister has come out strongly against former Supreme Court Chief Justice who, according to him, reduced the Bhopal gas tragedy into a truck accident. The Minister is also shore about the then principal secretary to Rajiv Gandhi, for hinting that the prime minister might have taken the decision to release the former chairman of Union Carbide Corp Warren Anderson in consultation with Arjun Singh, the then Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister.

Naturally none of the loyal Congress men such as RK Dhawan will like the name of Rajiv Gandhi dragged in the issue and that too when the country is ruled by all powerful Sonia Gandhi, his wife and to certain Rahul Gandhi, his son.

Some of the Congress men such as one former chief minister of MP want to remain in news by making comments in favour or against the case of fleeing operation of Anderson from Bhopal to US. The officers in Administrative services such as the then district collector, the Bhopal police chief or CIB officers are also trying to gain importance by making statements and revelations.

According to the police chief, Warren Anderson was aware of the lacunae in the UCIL plant in Bhopal and knew about the possibility of a disaster like the one which struck on December 2-3, 1984. I wonder why he didn’t come out and presented the evidences in the court.

I fail to understand one thing. Why could not the government and the system ensure a good compensation to the victim that as per report is only $500 per family?

The tragedy must provide an important lesson for the government. The country must have a large enough disaster fund and all the companies must contribute to it in generous manner. Even with all the developments in technologies and its management, there will be some disasters as it happens with in aviation or railways sector.

Along with waiving of lakh of crores of farmers loans, the government can create a fund of Rs 1 lakh crore or more for facing disasters. If a certain portion of the money that oils the hands of politicians and officers in India in getting a clearance of a company to start business is placed in the disaster fund, the after math situation can be more manageable.

This entry was posted in indian politics, industry, management. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s