Monday, July 08, 2002

Wanted...Warren Anderson

Bad news today from India where media reports suggest that the Indian Government wants to reduce charges against former head of Union Carbide, Warren Anderson. This is the same Warren Anderson who dropped out of sight in 2000 seemingly to avoid a summons arising from a civil suit filed in the United States over the Bhopal accident. Although I was only 6 at the time (It was December 1984) I remember the carnage that the poorly managed, Union Carbide Methyl Gas plant leak created. Over 3,000 people were killed almost immediately and the leak also had drastic after effects. Now it seems the Central government has asked the Bhopal District Court to reduce the charges against Anderson from culpable homicide to negligence, a move that I think would only say that it is ok to uphold subpar conditions because third world populations are worth less than those who reside in the Western World. Union Carbide's standards for their India plant were held to nowhere near the international norms for storage of Methyl Isocynate (MIC) and what seems to now be happening is the continuance of the really bad protection of the Indian people by the Indian government from greedy corporates who appear to care very little about populaces in the vicinity of their overseas plants. Attesting to this, recently the Indian government lessenned the charges against Indian employees of UC because "all the factory decisions about design, operation and safety were taken in the U.S. headquarters of Union Carbide." To me, the Bhopal disaster is one of the most horrifying examples of the corruption and ineptitude of India's governing bureaucracy, an ineptitude that seems to be continuing.

For more information on the Union Carbide Disaster Dominque Lappierre has written a wonderful book entitled "Five Past Midnight in Bhopal ." Rumor has it that Oliver Stone is working on production of a movie based on the book. There is also a home-grown movie already made on the Bhopal disaster entitled " Bhopal Express." The website has some very good facts about the disaster.

Indian Bloggers

I also wanted to give a shout-out to Anita for creating the Indian Bloggers list. This seems to be the most comprehensive listing of Indian bloggers around. A very valuable site, thanks Anita.


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