It has been 30 years since the most catastrophic incident took place, the Bhopal gas tragedy. The tragedy that shattered the whole Bhopal with its effects. In the early morning hours of December 3,1994, a gas called methyl iso-cyanate leaked from the plant of an American company ‘Union Carbide’ in Bhopal. 40 tons of this poisonous gas got spread in the whole city.
More than 10,000 people died, some got blinded and physically impaired. The lungs, brain, muscles, reproductive and immune systems of many people got affected. Around 5 lakh people got diseased.
The worst part of the story is that even today, its effects can be seen in Bhopal. That factory still contains harmful substances like mercury, chromium etc which haven’t been treated yet. These harmful substances creates water and air pollution. This has led to several cases of miscarriage among pregnant women, new born children with physical impairment, cancer and skin diseases among people.
According to a survey, in 2002, around 4000 people affected with these toxic gases visited hospitals and in 2005 the number rose to 6000.
Another thought to be pondered upon is that this American company that did too much harm to our citizens gave 0.47 Arab dollars to the victims as compensation whereas the same America took 1.5 Arab dollars when 11 of its labourers died in Mexico in deepwater horizon oil spill. That’s how our poor Indians are valued all over the world. Ironically some people still use the products of ‘Union Carbide’. Not just that, some of the great artists advertise it’s products.
However, whosoever government has come in the past 30 years in India have only opened the ways for many foreign companies like ‘Union Carbide’ to attract foreign direct investment.
Bhopal gas tragedy wasn’t a sudden crisis that took place, many workers started dying from the very beginning of the setting up of plant. When it came to the notice of people, many reporters and labour unions started protesting against it. When this case came to the Parliament, the then government ended up defending the company.
After the incident, when the company’s chairman ‘Warren Anderson’ was found guilty, he successfully fled to America and the then government let that happen.
Unfortunately, our government is still keen on inviting such companies to India without carrying out proper investigation process.
It’s high time that we consider dignity of labour as an important element for India’s development. It’s important that our government like all the governments of other countries start valuing Indian citizens be it- rich or poor.