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

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Gas Leaks, Industrial Disasters: Reflecting on India’s Historical Lack of Systemic Accountability

India’s handling of industrial disasters suffers from systemic apathy. To respond to the currently unfolding Visakhapatnam Gas Leak effectively and sensitively, it must reflect on and learn from its inadequate handling of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.

Bhopal Gas Tragedy: Medical Research in the Aftermath of the Industrial Disaster

After the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, attempts were made to understand the effects of methyl isocyanide so that the victims could avail better treatment. However, time and again, relevant information from medical surveys was kept hidden.

Corporate Responsibility for Bhopal

Union Carbide Corporation managed to wrangle out of the Bhopal gas tragedy by exploiting a loophole in the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act. If governments are not vigilant, other companies, ushered for “Make in India”, would do the same.

Disaster and Mental Health

This study reviews the mental health research done in Bhopal in the wake of the gas disaster. Based on interviews with the victims themselves, as well as with professionals, it highlights the fact that despite the continuing suffering of the victims, no systematic effort has been made to tackle the mental health problems that were generated as an impact of the gas leak.

Accountability Is the Issue

Wiping out the memories of December 2, 1984 when thousands of people died in Bhopal due to the leakage of a lethal gas from the Union Carbide plant there is an impossible task for anyone who experienced the horrors of that night in one way or another. But that is precisely what the governments of India and Madhya Pradesh have been endeavouring to do in the last 17 years, forcing the thousands of survivors to fight battles of all sorts – legal and political – to secure recompense and redressal for physical and social injuries from the disaster. Just as importantly, the victims of what has been termed the world’s worst industrial disaster have been fighting to ensure that multinational companies accept their international liability for damages they cause in any country of their operation. So far in none of the major disasters that have taken place – whether Seveso in Italy or DES – have MNCs, while they have paid compensation, been legally compelled to accept responsibility for the damages.

Reproductive Health Consequences of Bhopal Gas Leak-Fertility and Gynaecological Disorders

In the absence of any worthwhile pre-disaster toxicology, the epidemiological studies conducted in the immediate post- disaster period had the unenviable task of putting together seemingly unrelated pieces. One of the major concerns then was the effect of the toxic gases on the reproductive effects of an exposure which had killed so many and continued to affect thousands. 

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