Monday, November 29, 1999

FICCI:India needs to regulate safety measures by foreign firms

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Lalit K Jha Washington, Jun 18 (PTI) India is now lot more prepared to handle any accident akin to Bhopal Gas Tragedy, than it was a quarter-century ago, however the country still needs to better regulate safety measures taken by the foreign investors in critical industries, corporate body FICCI has said. "I think, we are much more prepared to have a response of a different kind today than we did probably 25 years back," FICCI president Rajan Bharti Mittal said. FICCI, which is drafting a position paper which would include set of recommendations to the Indian Government so that Bhopal may never be repeated has said,it will be "putting a suggestion paper on what kind of things we need to know? Who are the suppliers beyond it? What is the track record of the suppliers? What kind of insurances those suppliers have taken?." Bharti, also MD of Bharti Enterprises, said India need to learn from the Bhopal disaster. "All that we have to keep in mind that the loss of life that has happened, the compensation is something we need to worry about it not that what has happened. We must learn from that mistake to make sure that we do not get into in the future." However, FICCI president tried to downplay negligence by the Union Carbide Corporation at that time by saying "it is not only Bhopal. In today''s time you can have an oil spill. We can''t say that BP is not a company which is not responsible. It can be clearly shown that despite being such a large company and being in this, these things do occur." Bharti, who is on a two-week trip to the US, has said that there are larger issues than Bhopal, which will discussed in the next week''s Indo-US CEO''s Forum meeting. "I am not trying to make a light of the situation, enough damage is being done. "I am more concerned as an Indian citizen that we should not see in future this kind of happening, which would mean that the companies which are going to come in and invest in such critical areas need to be sure that they are investing at a time which has security; they are investing in everything which is right," the FICCI head said.

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