The Bhopal Gas Tragedy, 1984 was a catastrophe that had no parallel in the world’s industrial history. In the early morning hours of December 3, 1984, a rolling wind carried a poisonous gray cloud from the Union Carbide Plant in Bhopal, capital town of Madhya Pradesh (India). Pesticide plant of Union Carbide India Limited was located in the eastern part of the city which was densely populated. The plant was established in 1969 in which Union Carbide Corp. shares 51% and remaining by state authority. A chemical called Methyl Isocynate (MIC) was used as raw material to produce pesticide hence factory stored a large amount of MIC.
On the fateful night of 2nd December, 1984 a regular maintenance activity was under progress. During pipeline washing workers observed a leak and little attention was given with casual remedial actions. But leak continued and pressure in one of the MIC tanks increased beyond acceptance limit. Due to water leak in tank lead by exothermic reaction, concrete tank cracked and relief valve of plant gave away large amount of MIC in the atmosphere. Now the workers understood the scale of disaster and hence tried at their level best to activate safety system present in factory. But none of the safety system was in working condition. By that time workers felt that nothing can stop this disaster.
As on the three sides of the plant people used to live in slums and hence people living in this area were the worst sufferers. Due to delayed use of warning and alarming system, most of the people left unwarned. As an effect of MIC gas leakage people started suffering through suffocation, vomiting and other health problems. On the same night around 3000 people died and another 8000 people died within week and yet another 15000-20000 people died over a period of time. Still a half a million people directly or indirectly affected due to poisonous gas.Investigations into the tragedy show that there were many shortcomings on all levels, which are listed as below :-
1. The Union Carbide Factory did not have much information about safe storage of these highly toxic gases.
2. The Medical fraternity did not have the requisite about how to deal with contamination of this level.
3. The lack of co-ordination between factory and emergency services.
4. Lack of trained personnel in the factory along with impact of cost cutting on safety of plant, its employees and the people living around the plant.
5. Location of factory in dense populated area which is against many norms.
6. Negligence to similar events reported by workers such as leak of Phosgene on 25th December, 1981; another leak on 9th January 1982 from higher authority.
All this turned Bhopal Gas Tragedy into World’s worst industrial disaster till date. Since the disaster, India has experienced rapid industrialization. While some positive changes in government policy and behavior of a few industries have taken place such as The Environment Protection Act was passed in 1986, creation the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) and strengthening India’s commitment to the environment. It established the importance of integrating environmental strategies into all industrial development plans for the country.
The tragedy of Bhopal continues to be a warning sign at once ignored and heeded. Still the Indian economy is growing at a tremendous rate but at significant cost in environmental health and public safety. Sustainable approach is needed to prevent such problems in upcoming future.
There is no straight answer to this question, did Rajeev Gandhi help Anderson, the CEO of the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal and main culprit of the Bhopal gas tragedy, to elope from India, but one can derive some sort of conclusion based on following facts :
1. Rajiv gandhi & adil shahryar were good friends & both families were connected.
2. Adil was in US jail for a long term.
3. Rajiv gandhi instructed CM arjun singh for release of anderson. Arjun singh mentioned this in his autobiography. SP escorted him from union carbide guest house (where anderson was detained) to airport. Pictures & evidences are there where he came in state govt car with SP & then left to Delhi in state govt plane. Pilot has also mentioned in his documents that he has received orders from CM house for this flight.
4. After 5 months adil was released from jail without any trial or plea.
5. Arjun singh’s name was involved in churhat lottery scam. Churhat lottery scam was connected with Churhat children welfare society which was allowed to raise funds & given tax reliefs as a charity. Arjun singh was from churhat & their were allegations that funds from this society was used to build the kerwa kothi & other real estate which was owned by arjun singh.
6. Union carbide officially gave donation of Rs 150000 to churhat children welfare society.
Some theories also add that – “Warren Anderson was immediately flown from Bhopal to New Delhi on orders of Rajiv Gandhi allegedly in an Indian sponsored aircraft.
Later, Warren was allowed to leave without any questions, again on orders of Rajiv Gandhi.
It is said that Rajiv Gandhi received undisclosed amount of personal money for protecting and facilitating the escape of Warren Anderson.”
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