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From Bhopal gas tragedy to Koodankulam experiment
By Marvi Slathia
"
The cold intervening night of December 2 and 3 of 1984, proved deadly for thousands of people of Madhya Pardesh, who were unaware about the next day and slept with their dreams on that fateful night. The leakage of methyl isocynate and other toxic gases from a pesticide manufacturing plant, set up by the Union Carbide India Limited killed more than 8000 people residing in the vicinity of plant and exposed over 5 lakh people to the poisonous gases and other chemicals. Still the people residing in the vicinity of UCIL plant are bearing the brunt of gas leakage.

If we go by some of the incidents reported before the Bopal Gas Tragedy episode, it was apparent that the CEO of the company, Warren Anderson was made aware by the staff about little leakages from the plant in the year 1976, 1979, 1981 beside possible threats.

But as per the attitude of a capitalist, Warren Anderson didn’t pay heed towards the welfare of labourers and always considered his profit as supreme.

His negligence claimed thousands of innocents lives within minutes while million others are still affected, suffering from deformity in body parts, respiratory problems, damage to foetus, disabilities and mothers could not feed their children as their milk had become poisonous.

Astonishingly on behalf of victims, cases were filed in Bhopal and USA against the company but unfortunately the victims are still waiting for justice and punishment to the culprits.

After around 25 years of tragedy, in June 2010, punishment was awarded to CEO of UCC and eight others, but eight convicts had already died naturally before the judgment was passed. Instead of taking action against chief culprit, Warren Anderson, ironically, our government developed a soft corner for him and allowed him to flee to America, overnight.

Despite repeated directions from the court for Warren Anderson to appear in person, Anderson never bothered about the court ruling and it was also due to the fact that our government never pursued the case seriously, revealing the scant regard that our government has for the Bhopal gas tragedy victims were hapless people belonging to lower strata of society.

Without learning any lesson from the dictatorial attitude of foreign industrialists, once again our government is striving hard to start nuclear plant at Koodankulam in Chennai, where the possibilities of replication of Bhopal Gas tragedy are high.

Against the aspirations of people and despite strong protest demonstration, our government allowed Russian company to establish nuclear power plant at costal area of Chennai, at Koodankulam which was affected by Tsunami in year 2004.

Anticipating disaster, similar to which was held in Fukushima in Japan in 2011, people have been raising voice against the establishment, since last several months, but without listening to the people’s demands, our government is hell bound to serve the interests of rich capitalists of Russia.

The project was started for development, but question arises, the development for whom? Is it for the people of our country or for the interest of crony capitalists and our political leaders, who are hand in glove with them.

If the people are against the plant, why is the government imposing the interests of capitalists on them? People lodged strong protests, but some of them were killed, many injured, some were jailed and most astoundingly sedition cases have been registered against 8000 people. Is it justice in a democratic country, where the interests of majority are at stake.

Nuclear energy is not safe and this has also witnessed in the past with disasters like Three Mile Islant, Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant 1986 in Moscow and the Fukushima Daich Nuclear Disaster 2011. The energy produced by Nuclear power plants is only 6 percent of total energy produced in the world and 13 percent of electricity, which is very less in comparison to its cost.

A question arises, when the entire world is shunning aside nuclear weapons, then why is our country promoting nuclear energy, which is not safe and much more costly than other resources which are in abundance in our country. It is only because the capitalist countries have already sold the techniques of other energy producing techniques, including hydro power projects, thermal power projects, wind mills and others.

Now these crony capitalist countries are attempting to sell the machinery of nuclear reactors. It is astonishing to note that on the one hand America is imposing sanctions on Iran, accusing them of making nuclear weapons, in the garb of nuclear reactors, but it is mute over the developments in India, when Russia is sponsoring the project at Chennai.

The nuclear power energy is banned by various developed nations like Italy, who care for the welfare of their citizens.

A country like India, which has so far failed to properly manage garbage waste of its cities, is boasting of providing safe disposal of nuclear waste. This is ironic! Even the waste in the premises of Union Carbide company at Bhopal was not disposed off and company management had bluntly declined to dispose off the same. If same will be repeated in Chennai, then again the common people will suffer and not the capitalists and our political leaders who are minting money but residing in other safe countries, will remain safe.

(The author is Student of MA Political Science (Ist Semester) Jammu University)


News Updated at : Tuesday, December 4, 2012
 
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