Yes, nothing has changed after 35 years of Bhopal disaster which swallowed 3,787 lives, caused grave injuries to 558,125 people and made 3,900 people disable for life!
It’s been 35 years since the abominable episode and I don’t see any point of digging deets about the fateful night. Because what more can I say that hasn’t been said before! Although what happened to the factory and the people responsible for the accident is something worth pondering over.
What Happened To The Factory?
The factory, Union Carbide Inc. Limited (UCIL) was owned by UCC, with Indian Government-controlled banks and the Indian public holding a 49.1% stake. 12 years after the tragedy struck, UCC sold its stake in UCIL to EIIL (Eveready Industries India Limited) which later merged with McLeod Russel (India) Ltd. which is an Indian tea company and is currently the world’s largest tea-growing company. It is part of the Williamson Magor Group.
5 years after the disaster in 1989, UCC paid $470 million to settle litigation. Soon after acquiring a stake in UCIL, EIIL terminated its 99-year lease and turned over the authority of the land to the state government of Madhya Pradesh.
17 years after the disaster, Dow Chemical Company ended up buying UCC in 2001.
What Happened To Warren Anderson?
The CEO of UCIL, who was majorly responsible for such horrid catastrophe was arrested 4 days later of the gas-leak. But that was the most Indian Government could get their hands on him, as enduring only a few hours of house arrest, he posted bail and flew the country, never to return until he died in 2014.
Rumours were rife in the air in those times (and still are for that matter) that the then PM Rajiv Gandhi was pressured by the US Government to let go Anderson and he did!
Because, Integrity? Responsibility? Duty? What is that?
A lot of allegations were levelled against each other afterwards (as usual). Senior Congress leader Arjun Singh, who was the CM of Madhya Pradesh then, confounded R.D. Pradhan, (the then Home Secretary) of calling him on the instructions of the then Union Home Minister P.V. Narasimha Rao.
Pradhan (as expected) denied the allegations. Moti Singh, the then Collector of Bhopal created quite a stir when he busted the fact that Anderson managed to get away by using a phone in the room where he was detained to contact the US. (He was not supposed to)
Who gave him access to the phone call? No one knows till date!
The Indian Government succumbed under the pressure of the US Embassy and released Anderson on a personal bond of Rs. 25000.
Rs. 25000 for the lives of over half a million people. Rs. 25000 for the grave injuries like permanent blindness, lung cancer, kidney failure and liver diseases caused to over 6,00,000 people. Rs. 25000 for causing permanent disability to over 4000 people. Rs. 25000 for the children who are still being born with disabilities even after 35 years of the incident!
And you say the economy was better under Congress?!
Anderson never returned to India although the Indian Government, playing the formality card, declared him a fugitive.
Anderson died at the age of 92, due to prolonged disease on 29th September 2014. Before you ask, no, he didn’t suffer. He lived a full life without troubles and died peacefully in a nursing home. Guess Karma isn’t always a bitch!
What Happened To The People Of Bhopal?
Nation’s cleanliness capital is deferring under the fact that lakhs of people are being forced to drink toxic water since the past two decades because the chemical waste dumped by UCIL is still seeping into groundwater.
Well no surprises here, I mean it’s just country’s cleanliness capital where over a half a million people died because of a chemical disaster 3 decades ago and children are still born with deformities 3 decades later. No big deal right?
Not as big as a deal as air-pollution in country’s National Capital right? But wait, the government didn’t do anything about that as well, so it’s kinda futile to hope for something!
This is the harsh, but true reality that we have to live with. We pray for peace to all the souls who lost their lives and thank all the activists, organizations and NGO’s who are working for the welfare of the victims.
God Bless You.