Thursday, June 17, 2010

BP have to shell out $20bn, What about Bhopal?

"BP on Wednesday agreed to pay $20 billion into an independently run fund to meet the spiralling costs of the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster, bowing to tough demands from President Barack Obama."We're going to use every device, legal device, at our disposal if necessary," senior White House advisor David Axelrod said earlier on CNN."  TOI

The explosion in the oil rig and the subsequent contamination happened in sea, led to one of the severe environmental disasters US ever faced. But apart form a dozen of people who died on the rig during explosion, no other deaths are reported due to the oil spill. But look at the administrations response to the situation!!! Its another matter whether people are satisfied with government's decisions. Everything was quick, BP agreed on the massive compensation with in days.

If we are comparing the recent oil spill in US with that of Bhopal gas tragedy - which left 15,000 to 25,000 dead and lacks of people are suffering the aftereffects. But what happened after that? The site is yet to clean up, unlike BP which is cleaning the site using all the possible ways known to them. Will BP do the same, if that happened in India or any other country? I don't think many people will have a positive answer for that question, anyway only time can answer that question.

But in the case of Bhopal even now administration is not sure what to do. After judgement (that too took quarter of a century, and no one knows how many additional years are required to execute that judgement) only we came to the conclusion that laws not strict enough to punish and compensation paid is not adequate!!!

The irony of the fact is that the same day (BP agreed to pay the penalty) US also fixed the compensation to Vietnam for the aftereffects of deadly Agent Orange and other chemical agents they used against Vietnam during war.

Reports says,

"Thirty-five years after the Vietnam War, a $300 million price tag has been placed on the most contentious legacy still tainting US-Vietnam relations: Agent Orange. The US military dumped some 20 million gallons (75 million liters) of Agent Orange and other herbicides on about a quarter of former South Vietnam between 1962 and 1971."

"The defoliant decimated about 5 million acres (2 million hectares) of forest -- roughly the size of Massachusetts -- and another 500,000 acres (202,000 hectares) of crops, the report said. Dioxin levels in soil, sediment and fish in the same area were 300 to 400 times above international limits. That report estimated up to 100,000 people living near the site still face a potential health risk from exposure. TOI

Can anyone check the compensation ratio - (people died + environmental damages)/compensation paid in these three cases?

After the the oil rig explosion in sea, US administration was ready to go after BP to the maximum extend possible - BP knows it. But what about Bhopal? Will Indian administration go after Dow chemicals (Which acquired Union Carbide)? And how much compensation administration will be able to extract from Dow? Will anything happen in the case of Bhopal or after the initial enthusiasm everything will go on as usual? Lets wait and watch.


No comments:

Post a Comment