Sunday, 27 February 2011

BP Oil Spill and Bhopal Gas Disaster - A Tale of Two Societies

Recently two tragic stories have been making headline, one is the BP oil spill in US and the other a decision on the biggest industrial disaster ever on earth in Bhopal (Union Carbide gas leak now owned by DOW chemicals.)
Let me take up the first case of BP oil spill, its considered to be the biggest environmental disaster in US history ever, the American president is evidently angry and has made BP pay for it, yes a good $20 billion dollars, the casualties is mainly the environment and yes the company has rightly been made to pay up and the BP boss is in US to answer to American law makers as to what went wrong. The American administration has made BP pay for its mistakes.
Now talk about the second case the gas leak at Union Carbide factory in Bhopal on 2nd-3rd December 1984, the casualty figure according to reliable NGO sources stand at 25,000 dead, 175,000 maimed for life, 200,000 suffering from one form of side effect or other of the poisonous gas MIC (methyl isocyanate). The compensation $470 million yes, $470 million only. One wonders why, well as i went through the details I realised that Indian authorities were hand in glove to cover up the whole thing and to make sure that the American firm had to pay minimum damages, also the medical report was diluted to give benefits to the American firm. I ask why is human life so cheap in some parts of world and why even an oil spill can get 100 times more the compensation then the death of 25,000 living human beings.
Whats even more appalling is the decision on the Bhopal gas tragedy came 26 years after the tragedy the accused were given 2 years of prison and were released on bail immediately the same day.
I firmly believe that we must raise our voice against such gross injustices taking place any where in the world no matter where we live. Yes in the third world countries the people will continue to suffer and remain deprived but at least we can force the governments to take action against such gross injustice.