Posted on 03-12-2009
Filed Under (Environment) by Rashtrakut

Suketu Mehta with a passionate column on how 25 years after the Bhopal gas disaster legal immunity from corporate structures, government apathy and the unspoken fact of a lower value assigned to deaths in certain places have contributed to the continuing environmental and human catastrophe in the area.  Some of the charges against Union Carbide fit into the caricatured stereotype of  the evil multi-national that will have superior safety standards in the West but will ignore them in the third world.  The Indian government also fully lives up to its stereotypes of incompetence and bureaucratic apathy.

Bhopal also presents the delicate balance between a company’s legal and moral obligations.  Right now the legalists are winning.  So while the activists complain, the Indian government dithers, Dow claims legal immunity the contamination in the area continues, people still fall sick and die and as usual nothing gets done.  The dead in Bhopal are currently the collateral damage to India’s aspirations for the future for which future profits will not be endangered.

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