Bhopal Gas Tragedy


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    • Recently, the Supreme Court dismissed the government’s curative petition for additional compensation from the Union Carbide Corporation.


    • The Central government on the account of updated death figures (3,000 to 5,295 ) of victims approached the Supreme Court  for top up of the original settlement.
    • The court rejected the petition saying that among other reasons the  attempt to enhance the compensation should have been made in the immediate aftermath of the tragedy and not three decades later.

    Bhopal Gas Tragedy :

    • On December 3, 1984, Methyl Isocyanate (MIC) (Chemical formula- CH3NCO or C2H3NO) leaked from the pesticide plant of Union Carbide (now Dow Chemicals), in Madhya Pradesh capital Bhopal.
      • Methyl isocyanate is a colourless highly flammable liquid that evaporates quickly when exposed to the air. It has a sharp, strong odour.It is extremely toxic and if its concentration in the air touches 21ppm (parts per million), it can cause death within minutes of inhaling the gas.
    • It is one of the worst chemical disasters globally and still continues to have its ill effects on the people of the affected areas.
    • Settlement:
      • In 1989,The government reached an out-of-court settlement with Union Carbide for US$470 million for damages caused in the Bhopal disaster.
    • Legislative Actions in the Aftermath:
      • The Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster (Processing of Claims) Act was passed in 1985, giving certain powers to the Indian government for settling claims. It provided the Central Government the exclusive right to represent, and act in place of every person connected with the claims.
      • The government of India enacted a Public Liability Insurance Act (1991), making it mandatory for industries to get insurance .The premium for this insurance would contribute to an Environment Relief Fund to provide compensation to victims of a Bhopal-like disaster.

    Source: TH