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Posts Tagged ‘Bhopal Gas

There is no end to the tales of official bungling in the schemes prepared for providing assistance to the Bhopal gas affected people. After the disaster following the leak of MiC gas from Union Carbide Corporation’s pesticide plant in December 1984, a “step-up scheme” was started to provide training-cum-employment to the surviving victims. Under the scheme the affected people were to be given training in various vocations. They were then to be provided financial assistance to start their own business (75 per cent bank loan and 25 per cent government grant). The total number of beneficiaries: 263. Under another scheme, 3600 persons were to be trained in 40 vocations every year from 1990-91 to 1998-99. Only 4800 persons were trained when the scheme was stopped.

Then another programme of imparting vocational training to the affected people was started in 1986. Only 8,000 persons were given the training. But that also served no purpose, as the follow-up assistance was not provided to them for starting their own business.

On October 5, 1987, Union Minister of Industries J. Vengal Rao laid the foundation stone of a “special industrial area” where industrial units were to be set up for giving employment to the Bhopal gas victims exclusively. About 10,000 persons were to be given direct employment by early 1990 in the first phase; 170 worksheds for the first phase were constructed well on time.

The projects envisaged setting up of small and medium scale industrial units over a 21 hectare piece of land in the Govindpura Industrial Area of Bhopal for exclusive employment of the gas leak victims. The industrialists were to be invited for setting up their units in which heavy labour would not be required. The electronics industry and the diamond cutting industry were identified, to begin with, as suited to the requirement.

The government, on its part, had promised to provide to these units the incentives and facilities available to the industrial units in backward districts as a special case because Bhopal is not a backward district. These included grants to the extent of 15 per cent and sales tax exemption for seven years.

The scheme was abruptly abandoned. The sheds constructed for setting up industrial units for the gas affected people were allotted by the BJP government of Sunderlal Patwa as barracks to the Rapid Action Force (RAF).

Warren M Anderson died on September 29 at a nursing home in Vero Beach, Fla. He was 92. His death, however, became a public knowledge only a month later when The New York Times reported it on October 30.

His death passed almost unnoticed until an article appeared in Vero Beach 32963, the weekly newspaper of the Vero Beach barrier island, says NYT.

A Brooklyn carpenter’s son, Anderson ascended to the top of the Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) which is remembered in India more for the world’s worst industrial disaster as the leak of poisonous gas from its plant in Bhopal in December 1984 killed thousands and afflicted with multiple ailments lakhs of others. A large number of the victims are still not able to cope up with life.

Anderson was never brought to book for his role in the tragedy, in spite of summonses and warrants issued by Indian courts several times. The only time he visited Bhopal after the tragedy, he was treated by then chief minister of Madhya Pradesh Arjun Singh as the most honoured guest (rather than an accused) and allowed by then Rajiv Gandhi government to fly out of the country.

In fact, such was the clout of Anderson that he virtually owned the government, as well as the judiciary, of India. The Prime Ministers and judges including Chief Justices of the Supreme Court behaved like his paid servants. The whole UCC episode in India marks a period of shame in this country. Perfidy of the Indian politicians, bureaucrats and judges may not be as much evident in any other case as in the case of Union Carbide disaster.


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Value of propaganda

Adolf Hitler believed in the use of propaganda as an integral element to seizing and holding on to political power. His maxim was 'the bigger the lie, the more easily it will be believed, provided it is repeated vigorously and often enough'. (Sean Murphy in his book 'Letting the Side Down')

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