The Bhopal Disaster which is commonly referred to as Bhopal Gas
Tragedy was a gas leak incident in India, considered one of the
world’s worst industrial catastrophes.
It occurred on the night of December
2-3,1984 at the Union Carbide India
Limited, a pesticide plant in Bhopal ,
Madhya Pradesh , India.
A leak of methyl isocyanate gas and other chemicals from the plant
resulted in the exposure of hundreds and thousands of people.
UCIL was the Indian subsidiary of Union
Carbide Corporation (UCC), with Indian
Government controlled banks and the
Indian public holding a 49.1 percent stake.
It started in 1969 at the northern state of
Phosgene, Monomethlyamine, Methyl
Isocyanate (MIC) and the pesticide
Carbaryl, also known as Sevin were
UCC produced carbaryl using MIC as
After the Bhopal plant was built,
other manufacturers including
Bayer produced carbaryl without
MIC, though at a greater
Methylamine (1) reacts with phosgene (2) producing methyl isocyanate (3)
which reacts with 1-naphthol (4) to yield carbaryl (5)
PLANT PRODUCTION PROCESS
According to one theory:
Water leaked into tank from valves while workers were
cleaning the clogged pipe which is 400 feet above it.
According to theory of UCC:
Water was directly introduced into tank
intentionally by a worker via a missing pressure gauge .
It resulted in exothermic reaction and finally to a explosion.
Use of a more dangerous pesticide manufacturing method for
decreasing generation cost.
Plant location close to a densely populated area.
Plant management deficiencies like :
Lack of skilled operators,
Reduction of safety management.
Insufficient maintenance and
Inadequate emergency action plans.
UCIL didn’t maintained safety rules.......
• A pipe leaked? Don't replace it.
• MIC workers needed more training. They could do with
• The MIC tank alarms had not worked for four years.
• The flare tower and the vent gas scrubber had been out
of service for five months before the disaster.
• To reduce energy costs, the refrigeration system was
idle. The MIC was kept at 20 degrees Celsius, not the
4.5 degrees advised by the manual.
• The steam boiler, intended to clean the pipes, was out of
action for unknown reasons.
• Carbon steel valves were used at the factory, even
though they corrode when exposed to acid.
• According to the operators the MIC tank pressure gauge
had been malfunctioning for roughly a week
• UCC admitted in their own investigation report that most
of the safety systems were not functioning on the night
of December 3, 1984.
• It is estimated that total deaths
are about 20,000 upto 20 years
• It is estimated 1,00,000 to
2,00,000 people have permanent
• Reported symptoms are eye
problems , respiratory difficulties,
immune and neurological
disorders, cardiac failure secondary
to lung injury, birth defects among
children born to affected women. Dead bodies of victims of that
Medical staff were unprepared for the thousands
Doctors and hospitals were not informed of
proper treatment methods for MIC gas inhalation.
They were told to simply give cough medicine and
eye drops to their patients.
The gases immediately caused visible damage to
the trees. Within a few days, all the leaves fell off.
2,000 bloated animal carcasses had to be
"Operation Faith": On December 16, the tanks 611
and 619 were emptied of the remaining MIC. This
led to a second mass evacuation from Bhopal.
Immediate relief was decided two days after the tragedy.
Relief measures commenced in 1985 when food was
distributed for a short period and ration cards were
Widow pension of the rate of Rs 200/per month (later Rs
750) was provided.
One-time ex-gratia payment of Rs 1,500 to families with
monthly income Rs 500 or less was decided.
2,486 flats in two- and four-story buildings were
constructed in the "Widows colony" outside Bhopal. The
water did not reach the upper floors. It was not possible to
keep cattle. Infrastructure like buses, schools, etc. were
missing for at least a decade.
Indian government closed plant to outsiders and failed in making
the data public.
The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) were
forbidden to publish their data on health effects until after 1994
The Indian Government and UCC deny permanent injuries were
caused by MIC
UCIL paid a token of $470 million even though asked a total
compensation of $3.3billion.But the government said nothing
The government sent safely Mr. Anderson the CEO of UCIL at the
time of massacre, to US
Civil and criminal cases are still pending in United States District
Court, Manhattan and the District Court of Bhopal, India,
involving UCC, UCIL employees, and Warren Anderson
CONTRIBUTING FACTORS OF
• Faulty Location
• Inadequate safety equipment
• Shoddy Maintainance
• Human Error
• Inadequate Staffing
• Lack of Evacuation Plans
PREVIOUS WARNINGS &
• 1981- One worker dies after being exposed to phosgene gas
• 1982- 24 workers exposed to phosgene
• 1982- Engineer burned by MIC
• October 1982: An Operator trying to fix leak in valve received severe
• Reduce Inventory of Hazardous material
• Keep all the safety related equipment in order
• Keep Residential areas away from the plant
• Proper Management
• Emergency Training
• Community awareness
BHOPAL GAS VICTIMS USED AS
GUINEA PIGS FOR DRUG TRIALS'
• The health ministry listed three instances of norms being flouted:
• * Inspection in 2010 on clinical trial of Telavancin by Quintiles Ltd: "Finding
of the inspection of one clinical trial conducted at BMHRC showed some
deficiencies like non-payment of compensation to the trial subjects for
participation and non-reporting of serious adverse events within prescribed
time limit." The company was merely warned by Drug Controller General
• * Inspection in 2011 on clinical trial of Tigecycline by Quintiles Research Pvt
Ltd: Finding of the inspection showed deficiencies like non-payment of
compensation to trial subjects and non-reporting of serious adverse events
in time. Again, the pharmaceutical firm was only warned in March 2012.
• * Inspection in 2011 on clinical trial of Fondaparinux by Sanofi-Synthelabo
Ltd resulted in identical findings - non-payment of compensation to
subjects and non-reporting of serious adverse events and the DCG had
again issued only a warning in March 2012.
• From these three instances, it was clear that the pharmaceutical firms
were not paying the mandatory compensation due to Bhopal gas
disaster survivors, who had volunteered to be subjects in the clinical
trial of new drugs and formulations.
• The health ministry said of the 157 new drugs/formulations by global
pharmaceutical firms which were directed to be re-evaluated by the
apex court, the technical committee (TC) had evaluated 50 cases.
• the details, the TC recommended the continuance of these 50 clinical
trials as they met all the relevant aspects of safety and efficacy," the
ministry said. A bench of Justices RM Lodha and SK Singh posted the
matter for further hearing in February.
BHOPAL GAS TRAGEDY: US SHOULD
EXTRADITE ANDERSON, SAYS NGO
• Bhopal: In the wake of arrest of Indian diplomat Devyani Khobragade, an NGO working for the cause of victims of
1984 Bhopal gas tragedy yesterday demanded that the US should extradite Warren Anderson, former chairman of
the Union Carbide Corporation.
Anderson is the prime accused in the Bhopal gas leak case.
Abdul Jabbar, convener of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Udyog Sanghatan, said India should learn from the US
government which was sticking to its guns even after giving humiliating treatment to Indian Deputy Consul General
Devyani Khobragade on trivial charges.
“On the other hand, our government not only released Anderson, the prime accused in Bhopal gas case (in 1984),
but also apologised for arresting him here at the time,” Jabbar said, speaking at a protest organised by gas tragedy
Local court has declared Anderson as an absconder and an arrest warrant was pending against him since March
1992, he pointed out, saying that the Centre did not bring him to the country on the pretext that it
would jeopardise the relations between the two countries and hit the foreign investment.
The gas tragedy victims burnt effigies of US and Indian governments at the Yaadgar-e-Shahjahani Park in old city
area here in protest over Anderson issue.
BHOPAL GAS VICTIMS ALLEGE SCAM OF RS
25 CRORE IN REHABILITATION FUND
• Bhopal: At a press conference today, five organizations of survivors of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal
presented details of corruption of over 20 Crores by the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief & Rehabilitation
Department of the Government of Madhya Pradesh in providing economic rehabilitation to the survivors.
These details were exposed through documents made available under the RTI Act.
• According to the complaint filed with the Joint Director Anti-Corruption, Central Bureau of Investigation, by
the survivors’ organizations, more than 94 % of the payments made by Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief &
Rehabilitation Department, Government of Madhya Pradesh to the training agencies were fraudulent
payments. These payments were made for trainees who did not complete their training or were not placed
in any job by the training agencies.
• The allegations against the department were based on information gathered from 380 persons claimed to
have been trained under the economic rehabilitation scheme. The organizations have also complained to
the CBI that close to a fourth of the names of the beneficiaries of the economic rehabilitation scheme are
false, more than half of the letters offering jobs to the trainees were forged and only 6 % of the trainees
received the stipend due to them.
• The organizations said that as per the decision of the Group of Ministers on Bhopal
in June, 2010, an amount of Rs. 104 Crores was transferred to the Bhopal Gas
Tragedy Relief & Rehabilitation Department by the central government for
economic rehabilitation of the survivors. Out of this amount, between June 2011
and October 2013, Rs. 26 Crores have been paid to 22 training agencies by the
Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief & Rehabilitation Department for providing training
through 133 vocational courses to survivors of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal
and their families.
• The organizations including Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh,
Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogi Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Gas Peedit
Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, Children Against Dow / Carbide and Bhopal
Group for Information & Action condemned the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief &
Rehabilitation Department for its failure in providing economic rehabilitation and
misappropriation of funds meant for the survivors of the Bhopal disaster.