Bhopal Gas Tragedy – UPSC GS1

The story of Bhopal – of the 30 years of disaster is not that of corporate crime alone but also that of the nexus between national governments and transnational corporations; of state and capital. Discuss (200 Words)

Thirty Years on, the struggle for justice and remedy of World’s Worst Industrial Disaster had not been concerned by the National Governments which are about to renew their relationship on ‘Republic Day’.
  • The special relationship of the Government of India with US didn’t start newly, it had dawned before Liberalization itself. As a “Partner in progress” in Green Revolution, UCC was allowed to hold majority stakes in UCIL departing from legislation meant to curb monopolistic growth.(MRTP Act)
  • The corporation was licensed and permitted storage and production of MIC in the midst of populated communities and worker’s repeated demands for relocation of the factory and implementation of occupational safety laws were consciously ignored.
  • Such favors were duly returned through contributions to US Congressional candidates and Indian party men unofficially. As additional favors, kin of senior bureaucrats and politicians were given employment in the company.
  • Immediately after the disaster, the government promised to punish those guilty of causing the disaster. But, it neglected collection of evidence against the accused, made no moves for the trial of the accused and finally it even conspired with UC in sale of its shares in UCIL and made the prosecution more difficult.
  • While the central actor, the US corporation is an absconder from justice. UCC had repeatedly refused to face criminal charges of culpable homicide in India.
  • The Dow chemical company, which bought UCC in 2001, has shown a similar arrogant disregard for the Indian legal system. US government had acted as a safe haven for UCC and Dow, ignoring its responsibility.
As the renewal of Indo-US relationship is going to bloom, the long wait must end now starting from the remedial measures of Bhopal Gas Tragedy.



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