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Old 7th June 2010, 17:44   #1
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Default Bhopal Gas tragedy Verdict - A Shame

I being from Bhopal and more importantly being present at the time when deadly Methyl Isocyanide leaked out of Union Carbide factory in the heart of the beautiful city, Must not be alone upset, when the verdict came out today that 8 accused will get a 2 yrs imprisonment. And Yes they have been released on Bail for mere 25K Surety.

This Verdict is a BIG shame on Indian Judiciary system.
A case where almost 20000 people died, do you think this is enough of punishment? That too after a long period of 26 years.

The main culprit, Warren Anderson from USA is still absconding.

I am extremely disappointed with the way Indian Government has handled the case. I have seen the people who suffered that day, People who lost their Loved ones because of Few bunch of corporate Guys, who did not handled the plant for sake of peoples safety.

I wonder what would US had done if some Indians were responsible for an event of this big magnitude in USA.

What are your thoughts on this Verdict TBHPians?

Last edited by sidd25 : 7th June 2010 at 17:58.
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Old 7th June 2010, 18:28   #2
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@sidd25, it can be a very delicate discussion with somebody like you who has actually been in the situation and lived through it. But I do have some points here. Keep in mind I have not seen the verdict myself.

Any country will go by the rules and laws that run that country. In this case it was a catastrophe. That does not necessarily mean it was criminal. It may have been just an accident. You mentioned a culprit. Are you saying he was responsible for this? If tomorrow a reliance pipeline bursts, would you expect the regional manager to be jailed? If he willingly did this to hurt people, then yes.

If there was a fault in following industry standards, the company is fined, not an individual. And that always leads to better compensation for the victims. I believe Union carbide has been paying for last 25 years to the victims already. What else did you expect? incidentally there is an oil leak in gulf caused by BP and we will see how this goes.

Now flip side of the coin, I have met people who are collecting the payments from union carbide who were not there at the time, and for the kids who were not even born at that time. I am sure bhopal was very happy when UC opened the plant and brought thousands of jobs to the city. One accident (agreed a massive one on that) and the perception totally changes. But worse, If this is how a company is treated (I mean cheating on collecting the payments), effectively we wil be discouraging any further investments from any other corporate.

trust me, companies do a lot of research on local laws and attitude before investing millions in an immovable asset. and local governments try to make them as comfortable as possible. Just see how tatas were lured by WB and then Gujarat for their nano plant.

Coming back to your initial question, if there was a criminal intent, I completely agree the culprits should be given maximum punishment. If there was a lack of safety measures, the company should be heavily fined and the responsible people be punished. And if it was just an accident, The company should have to pay for the losses, to the extent possible. I understand that loss of life is irreplaceable, hence the qualifier at the end.

Some of saddistic minds I ave seen will immediately want the whole corporation to be destroyed at the slightest glitch. But I don't see it serving any purpose other than the saddistic pleasure. and it will completely destroy the industrial advantage in the region.
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Old 7th June 2010, 19:03   #3
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Its really a shame.

compare this with PG&E settlement of Erin Brokovich fame.
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Old 7th June 2010, 19:25   #4
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ok, I did some research. PG&E paid 333+296+20 milion
source Pacific Gas and Electric Company - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

UC paid 470 million.
Bhopal disaster - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
after applying the PPP, this should be much higher.

Here I would also like to mention that UCIL had total revenue of 170 million$ at the time of disaster, while PG&E had a revenue of 14.268 billion (2008). need to research more to see what it was in 1993-1999 (from disaster to settlement). In case anybody is wondering, all lawyers and lawsuit are interested in how much a party can pay, and they try to maximize the settlements, so their commission is maximized.

also noticed this on wikipedia

Because of the smallness of the sums paid and the denial of interest to the claimants, a sum as large as Rs 10 billion is expected to be left over after all claims have been settled.

Who really duped the people, UC, or the politicians?

PS: I rarely speak for corporates, but this one for some reason sounds like a one sided argument every time i hear about it. and I have no connection with UCIL :-)

Also, in my previous post about reliance pipeline, I should have talked about Mr. Ambani, since it's the chairman they are trying to punish in UC case.
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Old 7th June 2010, 19:57   #5
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Another survivor of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, I was just 5 years old and present in Bhopal when this happened.

Such kind of "accidents" happen because of lack of sufficient safety measures, or ignoring safety warnings.

It can always be argued in court that it was an "accident" and not done intentionally. But the fact remains that this accident was always waiting to happen because the authorities had overlooked proper safety measures for their financial gains.

The court may have passed a different judgment, but IMHO these people are murderers and should be treated accordingly.

No comments on politicians who pocketed whatever little compensation was received from the company.

Rohan
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Old 7th June 2010, 20:48   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SirAlec View Post
Its really a shame.

compare this with PG&E settlement of Erin Brokovich fame.
Did anybody go to prison in case of PG&E? In their case it wasn't an accident. They were knowingly poisoning the people for years.
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Old 7th June 2010, 21:53   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sidd25 View Post
This Verdict is a BIG shame on Indian Judiciary system.
Indian Judiciary sytem itself is a big shame. We can't expect more from it.
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Old 7th June 2010, 22:25   #8
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Originally Posted by Superleggera View Post
Indian Judiciary sytem itself is a big shame. We can't expect more from it.
Rather the investigating agency & the government should be blamed for this.Why did the govt file a suit of about $3 Bn instead of the initial suit of $15 Bn filed by an individual & then finally settle for just $470 mn.

Have a look at this UNION CARBIDE
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Old 7th June 2010, 22:31   #9
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Hi All,
I am from Bhopal and have lost one of my beloved family members recently due to gas tragedy. Yes thats true. The real effects of the gas Methyle-iso-cynide show their ugly face after eating your body for whole 20 years!
And the biggest shame is one the night of the tragedy itself politicians there got crores to dampen the noise the best they can. They are still getting it.
We cannot blame these companies as it was our politicians who allowed them to come and setup their plants with faulty equipment and no safety (they think we have life in excess so we would not loose much). Though many are not aware but since its inception there were many small scale tragedies like gas leaks similar to big one happening every other day with people dying mysteriously but no action was ever taken and never it would be.
Don't think that americans do not have bad companies like this but its there government that values life more than anything else and that is why justice always wins there.
In terms of compensation I have seen relatives of some govt officials and politicians from as far as kerela / TN have enjoyed money from false claims.
All you have to do is bribe. And they poor old ladies weep outside the hospitals to get basic treatment as they have lost their livelihood supports in this tragedy.
So its now upto indians to decide who is worse--politicians or terrorists.
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Old 7th June 2010, 22:38   #10
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1)
Quote:
Originally Posted by vivekiny2k View Post
Who really duped the people, UC, or the politicians?
At the end of the day, public is duped, and if its politicians, its worst. Our own people have duped the nation.

2)
Quote:
Originally Posted by sidd25 View Post
I wonder what would US had done if some Indians were responsible for an event of this big magnitude in USA.
That is what I was discussing with my friend. What if an Indian was held responsible for such event in USA. I am sure other Indians in US would be attacked too.

But again, is it not our failure first ?
As far as Bhopal tragedy goes, why for 25 years, the person who is held responsible has never appeared before any court in India ?

US agencies could not find a person whose identity is available ? I think US never supported India in this case.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vivekiny2k View Post
3) Keep in mind I have not seen the verdict myself.
You mentioned a culprit. Are you saying he was responsible for this? If tomorrow a reliance pipeline bursts, would you expect the regional manager to be jailed? If he willingly did this to hurt people, then yes.

4) If there was a fault in following industry standards, the company is fined, not an individual. And that always leads to better compensation for the victims. I believe Union carbide has been paying for last 25 years to the victims already. What else did you expect? incidentally there is an oil leak in gulf caused by BP and we will see how this goes.


5) trust me, companies do a lot of research on local laws and attitude before investing millions in an immovable asset. and local governments try to make them as comfortable as possible. Just see how tatas were lured by WB and then Gujarat for their nano plant.

6) if there was a criminal intent, I completely agree the culprits should be given maximum punishment. If there was a lack of safety measures, the company should be heavily fined and the responsible people be punished. And if it was just an accident, The company should have to pay for the losses, to the extent possible. I understand that loss of life is irreplaceable, hence the qualifier at the end.
3) IIRC, some safety measures were missing and/or not taken. Wikipedia mentions that use of chemical MIC ( Methyl Isocyanide ) was done instead of less dangerous ones.

Wikipedia mentions that the chemical ( MIC ) was stored in large tanks instead of over 200 steel drums.

Who has to be held for this ?

4) I am surprised that why it took us 20+ years to conclude who is responsible for this tragedy. And even today compensation is not fully given.

5) IMO, tata plant has nothing to do with this incidence where many lives were lost.

6) Lets consider this. I am driving car without any criminal intent. I hit somebody on the road and he is killed. Note that there is no criminal intent, but a human life is lost. Will law leave me as I did not have any criminal intent.

An accident happened and whoever is responsible must be punished. This is man made disaster and not natural one.

7)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Superleggera View Post
Indian Judiciary sytem itself is a big shame. We can't expect more from it.
Agree with you. IMO, its failure of India and its system.

Last edited by aaggoswami : 7th June 2010 at 22:40.
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Old 7th June 2010, 22:55   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aaggoswami View Post

3) IIRC, some safety measures were missing and/or not taken. Wikipedia mentions that use of chemical MIC ( Methyl Isocyanide ) was done instead of less dangerous ones.

Wikipedia mentions that the chemical ( MIC ) was stored in large tanks instead of over 200 steel drums.

Who has to be held for this ?
yes, as i said, in that case it should be a fine + punishment.
Quote:
5) IMO, tata plant has nothing to do with this incidence where many lives were lost.
obviously you did not read the context.

Quote:
6) Lets consider this. I am driving car without any criminal intent. I hit somebody on the road and he is killed. Note that there is no criminal intent, but a human life is lost. Will law leave me as I did not have any criminal intent.
we all know indian traffic laws are skewed. Why don't you tell us what would you expect to happen if you were following all the rules of the road while driving?

Quote:
An accident happened and whoever is responsible must be punished. This is man made disaster and not natural one.
sure, all of us agree here. the question is who, how, and to what extent.
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Old 7th June 2010, 23:05   #12
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Before this turns into a "let's bash America" thread, I honestly don't know much about the tragedy other than apparently some corners were cut and safety norms were flouted. Unfortunetly this lead to the release of the deadly chemical... Now as I understand it, it was UNCIL that owned and operated the plant... Not the main branch of the company. It's horrible and very sad what happened but isn't the company paying out compensation? Look we all know that a lot of big corporations are kinda evil and don't care about the little guy...but those who died aren't coming back :(. So instead of going crazy on national tv, can't people work to make things better?
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Old 7th June 2010, 23:25   #13
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The biggest culprit is not the officials. It's the judiciary and the successive governments who did not even bother to negotiate proper terms of settlement for the misery caused. Taking punitive action is one thing. The main focus should have been to compensate the enormous no.of victims involved in the tragedy.

But, the govt's attitude was, right from the start, "How can we help UCIL get out of this mess". The apathy and ignorance has been going on for so many years and is only recently brought into the limelight is in my opinon, one of the largest cases of failure of both state and central governments. The most and I mean the most shocking thing that the govt is now realizing and still not waking up to is the genetic disorders living on in the next generation. A whole population genetically damaged and nothing is being done.

If this had happened say in the U.S., people would be talking of millions of dollars of compensation. Sad to say, there will never be any hope for the victims in this country.
This is our Nagasaki and Hiroshima and we are not doing a darn thing about it.
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Old 7th June 2010, 23:44   #14
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Quote:
Before this turns into a "let's bash America" thread, I honestly don't know much about the tragedy other than apparently some corners were cut and safety norms were flouted.
How much more do you need to know. What you feel if this had been a hospital, and the surgeons had done just that? Hey, it was only some corners cut, never mind being a cripple?
Quote:
. Now as I understand it, it was UNCIL that owned and operated the plant... Not the main branch of the company.
Didn't you know? That's how it works --- to limit liability.
Quote:
So instead of going crazy on national tv, can't people work to make things better?
I don't know Bhopal, but if I came from there, I'd be very upset to hear stuff like that. What do you think the citizens have been doing these last twenty-plus years?
Quote:
Before this turns into a "let's bash America" thread
I need better reasons not to bash America: much better reasons.
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Old 8th June 2010, 00:09   #15
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Here is what I feel. I have not read through the entire thread, too long. But here is what I feel I have learnt in my 29+ years of existence on this planet.

1. Powerful exploits.
2. Powerless are exploited.

Does not matter if you have democracy, dictatorship, capitalism or socialism.

No matter how many morality quotes you quote or no matter how much you justify my dear team-bhpians, this fundamental rule of nature can never ever be violated.

By heart this lesson my dear friends, In India value of money is infinite and value of human life is zero.

All middle class parents who are teaching their kids the importance of rules and morals are doing a great disservice to them, they are clipping their wings. They are preparing next generation middle class people (read worker ants) who will stand in drenching rain in blocked traffic so that a VIP convey passes at high speed (This happened to me once in Hyderabad and I pitied my existence).

Call me cynic, flame me, kill me. But this is the truth. If possible digest it.
Or else you can always live in the pink world of "Politicians are corrupt, root out corruption, reform judiciary blah blah".
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