Friday, June 11, 2010

Rational Tragedy, Irrational Tragedy

25 years in delivering "justice" and there still seems to be no respite for the victims of the Bhopal Gas tragedy.

In the aftermath of the ridiculously disproportionate judgment for the perpetrators of the tragedy a lot of issues have been flung into the open forum for discussion and debate. There is one particular point in question where the rational arguments made by our "beloved" men in charge (the bureaucrats and the politicians) have been put so elegantly that it almost seems right.

They talk about Dow chemicals (the company that acquired Union Carbide after the tragedy) as being not responsible for the chaos and the damage and hence not being liable.

This seems fair to most, but I TAKE VERY VERY STRONG EXCEPTION to this.

While I agree that there was no way for Dow chemicals to prevent the lapses that led to the disaster since they were not involved, when you take over a company you cannot simply take the good and let go of the bad. You cannot simply take all the assets and leave the liabilities for the govt to pay. That is WRONG. Morally ethically and even legally!!

When you think the company you are acquiring is profitable you also have to be responsible for all their commitments of that company like returning the land of the factory to its proper state (as mandated by the lease signed by union carbide).

I fail to understand the absolute ignorance on the part of the media to pin politicians like Kamal Nath and Abhishek Manu Singvi down on this. These guys seems to make nonsense sound rational. Why should the tax payer pay for the losses while Dow chemicals profits from the assets. The moral and criminal burden of the disaster and the lives lost will forever lie on the people running union carbide at the time and the regulatory authorities who failed and the legal and the financial responsibilities will fall on the current owners if it has already not been paid.

Dow chemicals like any profit seeking drone will push for policies and favours from the Govt, but "our" people in the govt need to safeguard our interests first and not suck up to the foreigners like they have been doing traditionally.

This is just one small piece of a whole lot of issues emerging out of this tragedy and the "justice" it has served up.

In the absence of any real justice I think the anger and the agitation against such injustice is the only respite. Lets not let go of this!

Gopal Balakrishnan


Shantanu said...

Couldn't agree with you more....

Gopal Balakrishnan said...

As irrational as anger is, controlled anger and the agitation that it creates is the only respite to these "rational" arguments.

Anurag J said...

very very true! if dow buys something which is screwed up they have to pay for the consequences...also if our super efficient judiciary could have put this case to rest in respectable time(read 10 yrs), things might have been easier for us