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Issue 26
, 2010
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Renewing Bhopal Catastrophe

Anjali Pandey
Source: N/A, Date: , 2010

Its said that time heals all wounds. But is it the truth or a ‘feel-good’ belief? In the case of the recent Bhopal Gas tragedy verdict it seems to be no more than a 'balming' effect by the political leaders and judiciary which has worsened the wounds than doing any better.  After a quarter century of the world’s worst industrial disaster, the nightmare of December 3rd 1984, killing over 15000 people while exposing around 50000 to the deadly methyl isocynate (MIS) gas leaked from Union Carbide has revisited the people of Bhopal with the Supreme Court of India ‘awarding’ former Union Carbide India Chairman Keshub Mahindra and seven others in the Bhopal gas tragedy case only a maximum of two years imprisonment.

Adding to the let’s leave it concept, the Prime Minister of India gently uttered piercing words like, “Bhopals will happen while the country has to progress”.

In light of the verdict and the valued judgment passed by the decision makers of the country, it’s a question worth posing to all those who were behind it, who are covering it or who will give way to more such occurrences in future by ignoring what happened as to why are we living in denial? Firstly its justice delayed and after such a petty punishment by the judiciary, justice to the victims of Bhopal is largely denied. What remains is just a shrill of the victims consistently fighting for justice?

What instigates even more is the dead silence of the ex Chief Minister of Bhopal Arjun Singh, the pragmatic appeal to leave it behind and not dig graves by bringing back the question on the esteemed departure of the former ninety year old chief Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) Warren Anderson, and the existing hazardous industries flourishment in the country despite laws. Its time we review the future prospects of these hazardous industries in the country and weigh it against its plausible humongous aftermath by taking queue from the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.  

In present time; open global market economy, hazardous industries are playing their decisive role in economic development and the advancement of the well being of the people in any country but simultaneously they are causing the problem of risk to human life and the environment. In this way, it has become a matter of grave concern all over the world and specially in developing countries like ours which is not only facing the acute problem of environmental pollution but also the pressure of population growth which in turn is supposed to be one of the main reasons responsible for causing the problem of environmental pollution.

Be it the number of people who are affected by the tragedy and the verdict or the number of years that have gone by in passing a judgment on such an important case, none can be said to justify the catastrophe that happened in the wake of December 1984. In lieu of the incident, it’s important we magnify the origin of national policy on chemical and hazardous industries. Not to forget, this it is not just meant to define hazardous industries or putting them in the outskirts but concrete efforts and implementation of the same.  The whole truth nothing but the truth!