June 16, 2010 Leave a comment
8 former executives guilty in ’84 Bhopal chemical leak: Slow are the wheels of justice, in India. So what is the government of India to make sure that justice is faster next time than it was for the victims of the worst industrial accident in the history of the planet at the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal?
A panel starts work on a nuclear liability bill! This bill caps the extent of damages of the nuclear plant supplier and/or operator to a measly 500 corore rupees ($100 million) per incident (see update 3). If this was the law in 1984, the 500,000 victims exposed would have received $200 per person, and this is not counting people that died, estimates of which vary from 15 to 30,000. If you want to know more about this disaster, one of the best reads is Five Past Midnight in Bhopal.
Even $100 million is far less less than the US government has spent in bailing out any one of the corporations that landed us in the biggest finacial crisis since the Great Depression. But why is it doing so?
According to The Hindu, “…strengthening the Bill in favour of potential victims is likely to anger the U.S. government and American suppliers, who have made no bones about their need to be protected from ‘Bhopal type litigation’ in event of a nuclear accident.”
Hmm. I’m sure BP would want the US Congress to pass a similar legislation!
UPDATE 3: I have found out that the similar limits in the US are $75 million. House Speaker Pelosi wants to change that to unlimited amount for oil spills, while the Senate wants to increase that limit to $10 billion.
UPDATE 1: An International Herald-Tribune op-ed contributor ‘remembers Bhopal‘ and wonders “How many people in the West today want to compare the compensation citizens of India received for loss of life and health with the compensation that is likely to come from BP’s oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico?”
Under pressure from Mr. Obama, BP has decided to escrow $20 billion to pay for Gulf oil spill victims!