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1.What are the benefits and costs of projects?

2.Do you think that benefits brought to the country outweigh the environmental and social costs? (Explain your reasoning).

3.Who were the different stakeholder groups with interests in the project? Identify what the different values these groups would bring to the debate about the development.

4.Most developmental project undergo an EIA approval process. What were the critical problems of the EIA process?

5.Should a Social Impact Assessment have been undertaken?

6.The governments sometimes have dual roles to play in the development, as both regulator and owner of the mine. What are the positive and negative aspects of being in this position? Suggest what structures or processes could be put in place to address the negative aspects.

7.What are the implications of minimal consultation with local communities who may be potentially affected by large-scale resource development projects?

Cost of the Bhopal Disaster

1. There were 2 benefits of the projects:

  1.    The company produced pesticide which was destroying the crops of farmers, resulting in famine and farmer indebtedness. Use of pesticide decreased the agricultural loss
  2.    Another benefit was the local employment. The factory employed local population to run the plant. This was the reason that the Indian Government neglected the lack of safety measures by the company.

Cost- the exact cost of the disaster is not known as the Union Carbide Factory never revealed the exact cost of the project but the factory was worth $10 billion in 1984. It paid very low compensation as compared to the estimated effects due to disaster (Broughton, 2005).

2. Answer- no, the benefits of the project did not outweigh the environmental and social cost. the company was responsible for the death of thousands of people, cows, buffaloes, and birds. The industrialization cannot be brought at the expense of loss of lives. The factory, instead of saving the population from famine, resulted in a catastrophe of killing many thousands. No industrial benefit can outweigh the environmental and social costs. The natural environment, which we have got as a blessing from the planet is balanced in nature. Any imbalance caused due to human actions generally and industrialization particularly is the threat to the very existence of humanity. Industrialization is of no use without the existence of human beings itself (Sriramachari, 2018).

3. Answer- The company union carbide was the major stakeholder in the project. It was executing a project of establishment of a pesticide plant in Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh state of India. It was manufacturing pesticide and toxic chemicals which could be used for agricultural purposes. The company was solely running the plant for economic profit without complying with all the safety standards the sole aim of the company was to tap the hitherto untapped market of the country.

Another stakeholder was the Indian Government, which had 22% economic stake in the Indian subsidiary of the Union Carbide factory (Varma & Varma, 2018).

The Indian government neglected the lack of safety measures as it did not want to disrupt the project of such an economic scale as it was providing the employment to the local population. Then the major stakeholders were civil society organizations. These tried to present the case and pressurize the government but to no avail. The case was disposed of without adequate compensation as compared to the proportion of killing caused by the disaster. Other stakeholders were local population and the farmers who were to use pesticide manufactured by the union carbide factory in agricultural fields along with the world media (Narain & Bhushan, 2015).

As far as the debate is concerned, these stakeholders can bring different aspects to the fore. The factory is definitely going to hide the essential information to absolve itself from any responsibility of disaster (Shrivastava, 2010). The civil society organizations can be the only means for the local population to give voice to their grief. The Union government can set up the investigation and bring the Factory to justice but that is the distant dream as the union government of India is reluctant to do anything because of international and geopolitical repercussions of any development related to the disaster. There are different estimates related to the scale of disaster so world media is not so supportive in the case.

Stakeholders Involved in the Project

4. Answer- the EIA process was started in India after the occurrence of the disaster. The EIA was to be done only on paper before that. There was a lack of serious measures to conduct the EIA. Though the awareness regarding the potential of disaster caused by the industries on environment started building from the Stockholm convention in 1972 it had no major effects (Dhara & Dhara, 2013). The EIA was not done in the case and there were serious issues which were neglected. Following points can summarize the lax attitude shown by the company:

  1.    Environmental neglect- there was weak physical infrastructure and unreliable electrical supply. In addition to this, the nearby hospital did not have accommodating facility and doctors along with an acute shortage of housing. Moreover, the telephone system was also unreliable
  2.    Social issues- there was weak social infrastructure and the nearby population was unaware of the potential of disaster caused due to negligence was shown by the company. The rules and regulations were not stringent enough to bring the company on board and there was a lack of communication between the company and government agencies.
  3.    Technological issue- the factory was converted into hazardous categories of industries because of storage of a large amount of methyl isocyanate gas but this aspect was neglected and the company continued its operations as usual. Modification in the design of plant led to ingression of water which is considered as one of the major factors resulting in disaster. There were no adequate safety provisions as three safety devices were non-operational. In addition to this, no one paid heed on plant gauges and types of equipment which were not maintained in normal conditions (Sarangi, 2012). In addition to this, the highly contaminated MIC was stored and used in the process of production of pesticides.

5. Answer- social impact assessment was very much necessary to consider before beginning the chemical manufacturing process in Bhopal. Had that been held, the company would have made liable to take all the social precautions before setting up the plant. In most of the cases, such a hazardous factory is not allowed in so precarious locations (Sheehan, 2011).  Has the social Impact assessment carried out, the company would not have got to set up the plant at the location at the outset. In addition to this, the social impact assessment would have brought for the hazardous nature of the factory along with potential social costs. The mitigation measures would have been taken and the disaster would not have happened at all or there would have minimum effects of the disaster (Sinha, 2009).

6. Answer- in this case, the government was the regulator as well as the investor in the industrial project. This contradictory position is often taken by the governments of many countries as they have the responsibility of development as well as regulation (Report, 2017). But these cases result in a conflict of interest.

Positive aspects-

  1.    swift approval of the industrialization project
  2.    economic development of the local area
  3.    providing employment to the local population
  4.    providing capital resources for the cause of industrialization
  5.    early recognition of faults by the government agencies

Negative aspects

  1.    conflict of interest cases
  2.    no grievance redressal mechanism if the government institutions neglect the avoidance of safety measures as happened in this case
  3.    environmental and social percussions 

To address the negative aspect, there is needed to make the government agencies accountable in addition to making provisions for transparency in their working (Grossman, 2014). In addition to this, the corresponding corporate giant must be made liable by considering regular check-ups. Adding an additional layer of administrative institutions can lead to avoidance of conflict of interest cases. In addition to this, there is needed to make justice mechanism transparent and stringent for the deterrent purpose (Lal, 2017). 

7. Answer- there can be negative as well as positive implications. But negative implications do not mean that the local communities should not be consulted at all. The negative implications can be as follows:

  1. a)    stalling of the project for a long period of time or altogether rejection to build the industrial sites
  2. b)    protests by the local population
  3. c)    Increase in input cost due to delay in project execution and taking sound precautionary measures. 

The positive implications can be as follows:

  1. a)    Community participation in the effort of development leading to the inclusive development
  2. b)    Early approval of the execution of the project
  3. c)    Minimal environmental and social costs
  4. d)    Protecting the flora and fauna of the associated site
  5. e)    Protection of marine and coastal resources along with water waste management if the site is located ashore.
  6. f)    Safe disposal of waste resulting in minimum deteriorating effects 


Broughton, E., 2005. The Bhopal disaster and its aftermath: a review. PMC, 2(2), pp.4-6.

Dhara, R.&.Dhara V., 2013. Bhopal—A Case Study of International Disaster. International Journal of Occupational and Environmental Health , 1(1), pp.58-59.

Grossman, E., 2014. Thirty Years Later, Victims of Bhopal Gas Disaster Are Still Waiting for Justice. Earth Island Journal, pp.34-38.

Lal, N., 2017. Bhopal Gas Tragedy Still Haunts India. The Diplomat, 2, pp.46-56.

Narain, S. & Bhushan, C., 2015. 30 years of Bhopal gas tragedy: a continuing disaster. Down to Earth, 3(4), pp.23-39.

Report, N., 2017. Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster: 33 years Later, Search For Justice Continues. NewsClick.

Sarangi, S., 2012. Compensation to Bhopal gas victims: will justice ever be done. Indian Journal of Medial Ethics, 9(2), pp.56-78.

Sheehan, H.E., 2011. The Bhopal gas disaster: focus on communit health and environmental effects. Indian Journal of Medical Ethics, 8(2), pp.45-48.

Shrivastava, R., 2010. Bhopal Gas Disaster: Review on Health Effects of Methyl Isocyanate. Science Alert, 23(7), pp.150-56.

Sinha, I., 2009. Bhopal: 25 years of poison. Support The Guardian, pp.23-38.

Sriramachari, S., 2018. The Bhopal gas tragedy: An environmental disaster. ResearchGate, 2(2), pp.23-34.

Varma, R. & Varma, D., 2018. The Bhopal Disaster of 1984. ResearchGate, 23(1), pp.37-45.

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