The Tunnel With No End -Bhopal gas tragedy The GoM belatedly sugarcoats the bitter pill --vs BRITISH PETROLEUM ASKED TO PAY BILLIONS OF DOLLARS FOR OIL SPILL IN U.S.A==DOUBLE STANDARDS FOR INDIA AND U.S.A DISASTERS.
Dow India boasts annual sales in excess of $500 million
Dow AgroSciences has a plant in Lote Parashuram, near Mumbai
Dow Europe is in a JV deal with GACL for a unit in Dahej
Dow has an R&D centre in Pune
Dow Automotive has a design centre in Pune; Dow also has other engineering and research centres in Mumbai and Pune.
Twenty-six years after the Bhopal
gas tragedy and just about a fortnight after the shocking court verdict
that has let off former officials of Union Carbide India Ltd with just
two years’ imprisonment, the cabinet on Thursday accepted all of the
proposals put forth by a group of ministers (GoM) tasked with stringing
together a slew of remediation measures. Here is what the government,
which has been under immense public pressure since the trial court
verdict, is now offering the survivors of the tragedy in a package that
will cost the exchequer Rs 1,500 crore:
An enhanced compensation package, with Rs 10 lakh for the dead,
Rs 5 lakh for the permanently disabled, Rs 2 lakh for those suffering
from cancer and Rs 1 lakh for the temporarily disabled. Any amount paid
earlier will be deducted.
A time-bound clean-up plan of Rs 330 crore. The waste lying in
the plant will be incinerated by year-end and the site cleaned up in
another two years.
A renewed push for extraditing former UCC chairman Warren Anderson.
Relocating those living near the plant.
The Centre will take control of the Bhopal Memorial Hospital.
Correction of ‘wrong’ judgements.
As news of this decision trickled in, activists and victims of the
tragedy, who were demonstrating just a few kilometres away from the
prime minister’s office, termed these measures insufficient. The Bhopal
Group for Information & Action (BGIA) and other groups have said
that this money is unlikely to touch over 90 per cent of the victims.
Disbursement is still with the state government, which has in the past
been guilty of misappropriating the funds, says Sathyu Sarangi, a BGIA
Moreover, what has worried activists and victims more is that the GoM
proposals do not explicitly mention what the government will do to make
Dow (read Union Carbide) or the present owner of the plant, Eveready
Industries, pay up for the cleaning operations. “The government would
like to figure out who’s liable,” said I&B minister Ambika Soni when
asked if the government was going to make the polluter pay. A case in
the Madhya Pradesh High Court seeks to identify the polluter and the
ensuing liabilities. The cabinet has now asked the court to expedite its
Says Sarangi, “There is nothing in these proposals about how the
government plans to get Dow to submit to the jurisdiction of Indian
courts.” The MP High Court has asked Dow to put the case of Union
Carbide, its subsidiary, before the court. “For five years, the Dow’s
lawyer has come and maintained that being an American corporation, it is
not subject to Indian courts,” he adds. Even the money set aside for
clearing the site has been deemed insufficient, with many arguing that
India does not have the necessary technology to safely dispose of the
waste. The incineration plant that has been set up near Indore is
already facing complications. “While the Central Pollution Control Board
stipulates that there should be no human habitation within 500 metres
of an incineration plant, the one near Indore has a village (Tarpura)
just 200 metres from it,” Sarangi points out.
The outrage since the June 7 verdict has forced a rethink on how the
legal system can best help correct past legal wrongs. A note by
attorney-general Goolam E. Vahanvati, presented by law minister Veerappa
Moily at the recent GoM meeting, severely criticised the 1996 SC
judgement reducing charges against the Indian accused from “culpable
homicide not amounting to murder” to “causing death by negligence”. The
law ministry also suggested a curative petition to correct the
Vahanvati told Outlook, “The apex court itself took a
contradictory view in its 1996 judgement and said that the prima facie
evidence showed that there were not only structural defects in the plant
but even operational failures—reason enough for a review petition.” But
no review petition was filed. The deadline to file one has elapsed, so
Vahanvati says a curative petition can be filed instead. The note also
gives fresh impetus to the hitherto lethargic attempt to extradite
Anderson. The law ministry notes point out that the SC had observed the
culpability of the officers of UCC who were fully aware of the plant’s
defects. This could be ground for a fresh appeal for extradition. Tall
promises these may be, but they have clearly come far too late. ;====================================================================;==;;=;==;=;;==;=;=;=;=;=;=;=;;=;=;;==;=;=;=;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;;
The US government banned BP Plc from new federal contracts on Wednesday over its 'lack of business integrity' in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, ...BP agreed to pay $4.5 billion in penalties, including a record $1.256 ...