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ANALYSING THE BHOPAL GAS TRAGEDY: CHALLENGES & CONSEQUENCES

By Surbhi Singh

More than 30 years have passed since the dreadful night of December 3rd, 1984 when a gas leak killed thousands of people and permanently disabled the survivors. The Bhopal Gas leak disaster is still fresh in the minds of all those who survived and inherited the suffering from their predecessors. The immediate effects of the gas killed 3787 people and several thousand over the next decade. The government, representing the victims, secured 470 million USD as compensation from the Union Carbide Corporation. The amount is considered too meagre when compared to the magnitude of damage caused. Following the incident, the state enacted several legislations including, the EPA, 1986, Public Liability Insurance Act, 1991, etc. Judicial Activism covered the loopholes and evolved the ‘absolute liability’ doctrine. Tighter regulations were framed but enforcement is still a problem, even though the situation has improved as compared to the pre-disaster period. While economic growth is being observed, the unregulated industries continue to threaten public safety and environmental balance. Sustainable development, and fixing corporate liability is the way ahead.
Keywords: Compensation, Sustainable development, Union carbide Corporation, Methyl isocyanate, insecticide, Absolute liability doctrine

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