ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Industrial Safety- Playing Footsie

January 4, 1986 Imrana Qadeer writes: THE gas leak in the Shri Ram Food and Fertiliser factory, in Delhi was perhaps the most ironical form a which the people of Delhi remembered Bhopa. The officials in their true spirit got busy declaring the event 'not lethal', 'no cause for panic' and the scientist- administrator who has developed a habit of neutralising events (not poiscuous gases!) could not stop himself from making not only an irresponsible out also a foolish comment that the gas in question, oleum, "was not toxic''. He may be right of course, because in technical jargon toxic means that "which is absorbed and inhibits the activity of a catalyst" and oleum can only be inhaled, swallowed, touched, but not absorbed. But then, can our scientist-administrators hide behind such technicalities, specially in view of the fact that the report of an expert committee, which had looked into safety measures at the Shri Ram Food and Fertiliser factory and had found them extremely inadequate, had remained unnoticed for the past tea months?

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