Barkha Dutt’s article For a few dollars less (Third Eye, June 12) shows how companies operating in India are casual about the lack of Corporate Social Responsibility. A case in point is Union Carbide’s (UC) Bhopal operations. The recent verdict on the Bhopal tragedy shows that justice in India is a slave to victims’ social standings. The verdict would have been different if a similar accident had happened around a posh Delhi or Mumbai locality. It’s unfortunate that even after 25 years of injustice, the government, which is representing the Bhopal victims in the case against UC, is sympathetic to the company’s chief Warren Anderson.
Santosh K. Rai, Bhopal
The compensation amount that the US is demanding from BP for the loss of marine life in the Gulf of Mexico due to the recent oil spill is far greater than what’s been given to the Bhopal victims for the 1984 tragedy. It shows that our government has no regard for human life. First it helped Warren Anderson escape to the US and now it is reluctant to demand his extradition. This confirms that good relations with the US are more important than the lives of people for our government.
Swati Rakheja, via email
It’s liable to be lax
I agree with Pratik Kanjilal’s views on the Nuclear Liability Bill, as stated in Where only the paranoid survive (Speakeasy, June 12). It is a matter of concern that the Indian government trusts foreign agencies more than Indian private companies, who can deliver similar results without escaping liability in case of an accident. The need of the hour is to plug all loopholes in our corporate laws to prevent foreign players from doing a Union Carbide.
Anupama Tiwari, Indore
Law, regulation and justice are cornerstones of a progressive society. Both the Bhopal verdict and the recent oil spill off the American coast show how political clout helped private companies evade safety norms. Thus, it is important that the government proposes stricter liability clauses in the Civil Nuclear Liability Bill.
R. Narayanan, via email
Lessons in crisis management
With reference to Fareed Zakaria’s article Flowing with the tide (World View, June 15), President Barack Obama deserves praise for skillfully tackling the BP oil spill crisis. Our politicians should take a lesson or two from Obama’s concern for the damage to life and environment caused by the accident.
Ranjana Manchanda, via email
Taxing people’s patience
The Delhi government’s proposal to raise property tax rates as a result of an increase in circle rates is indefensible (Circle rates for properties raised, June 15). Circle rates affect the minimum rate at which a property can be registered, while property tax is levied on the basis of the state of civic services in an area. In either case, raising taxes on old self-occupied residential properties can’t be an excuse to fill the coffers of an inefficient civic body. The government should instead recover taxes from defaulters.
J.M. Manchanda, Delhi
Not black and white
With reference to Samar Halarnkar’s article Out of time (Maha Bharat, June 17), the writer makes an important point on the way Africans are being portrayed in our advertisements. Depicting a community as ‘backward’ is not only in bad taste but it’s also a distasteful way of showing another community’s ‘superiority’ over it. It’s surprising that our advertisers are promoting apartheid, against which Gandhiji raised his voice decades ago.
Ashok Goswami, Mumbai