Monday, November 29, 1999

Three mishaps had occurred at Carbide plant before gas tragedy

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Bhopal, Jun 18 (PTI) Prior to the leakage of the deadly methyl isocyanate gas from the Union Carbide plant here in 1984, three mishaps had taken place in the facility killing two factory workers, according to Madhya Pradesh Assembly records. BJP MLAs at that time Gaurisankar Shejwar and Babulal Gaur had raised in the state Assembly in 1982 the issue of the death of UCIL employee Mohammed Ashraf and a fitter due to gas leaks in the plant. As per the Assembly records, the then Labour Minister, Tara Singh Viyogi had confirmed that a fitter (whose name was not given in the reply) had died on October 28, 1975 and Ashraf had lost his life on December 25, 1981 due to leakages of gas in the factory. The BJP members had also raised the issue of saftey and security measures in the wake of two deaths in the plant to which the Minister had replied that he had personally inspected the factory and found that it had adequate arrangements for meeting any exigencies. Rachna Dhingra of NGO Bhopal Group for Information and Actions told PTI that "an employee Mohammad Ashraf died in the plant in December 1981 due to phosgene exposure while a major fire had occurred in the alpha napthol unit of the plant in 1982. "Surprisingly, the fire incident was suppressed by the plant authorities despite the fact that it was noticed from a distance by the people living near the plant," she claimed. PTI MAS SC.

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