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Bhopal Gas Tragedy

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Chouhan: Tank no 610 was not lying like this on the fateful night of December 2-3, 1984. After disaster, (in January 1985) CBI people dug out the tank to check the gross weight so that they can minus the net weight to calculate how much is remaining inside the tank. That night, this tank was containing 42 tonnes of liquid Methyl Isocyanate ( MIC). This liquid MIC reacted with water and contaminant that included sodium hydroxide and iron compound which are highly catalytic material of MIC. Because of the contaminants, the impurities and water, the runaway chain reaction started- which is highly exothermic reaction. Because of which there was high pressure and temperature built up in the tank so the reaction started. MIC vapours came out and through vent gas scrubber, they released from 100 ft on top of the plant and as well as beneath the plant. There are two vent headers- one is process vent header. When pressure rose above 40 pound, safety valve got popped and it went through header to vent gas scrubber in vapour form. All the vapour came out. Gas came out through atmospheric vent gas scrubber.

Chouhan says that the Carbide plant in Bhopal was inferior to a similar plant of Union Carbide Corporation in West Virgina in terms of design, technology and training of personnel.

What was the composition of toxic gas

Chouhan: The composition of the gas, as per Union Carbide report, was 26,000 pounds of reaction products along with 54,000 pounds of unreacted MIC got released into the atmosphere of Bhopal that night. The wind direction was from north to south. A highly dense population resided there. The mixture of gases contain more than two dozens of different types of chemicals and, that also included hydrogen Cyanide. Hydrogen Cyanide is the younger brother of potassium Cyanide. Most died in few hours. The mixture of gases have different properties which was lethal. MIC is double (doubly heavy) than air, Monomethy Amine is heavier than air and the reaction was on.

If MIC comes in contact with your eyes, it will react with the eyes; in the lungs, it will react with it. If it reacts with haemoglobin, residual effect will remain.

Why it was not sabotage

Chouhan: The water washing area from where water escaped was connected to the vent header. Because of Sodium Hydroxide, vapour reacted and made Sodium Chloride and caused the pipes to choke. They wanted to clear this. This valve was malfunctioning that jumped into the main header that was at 32 feet height. This line goes to the storage tank and is connected there. The height is 14 feet and here it was 32 feet and so it entered tank number 610. The other tanks were holding pressure, in tank number 610 the control valve was not holding pressure and because of difference in height, water entered into the tank. Reaction started immediately. The total induction period was two and half hours. If tank would have been contaminated with pure water, it will take 23 hours induction time. And the nature would also be different.

Blueprint of compromises that took thousands of lives, affected lakhs of others- even those born in 1984

Chouhan: It was not an accident at all. For a chemical plant you need proper training and design. We were told that this plant is highly dangerous and that they had 20 years of experience in West Virginia. I compared the design of the Bhopal plant with the Virginia plant. It was not a carbon copy, not even a better design, it was an unproven design, it was not tested. For safety what ever they provided in the Bhopal plant, they can detoxify what ever is released through the normal process. Their capacity is not enough to detoxify such a huge amount. In the construction of plant there were double standards. There is no emergency scrubber or flare over here. Vent scrubber was made of carbon steel which reacted with material. There should have been an emergency header. Also, there is a difference in process and utility. In Virginia plant, they used chilled out chloroform, here they used brine. If anything leaked, it would react. The operating staff were highly trained in West Virginia. Here initially they were trained but there was a deterioration – 70 per cent of the personnel were untrained and operating at the time. Even if everything was OK, there is a chance of sabotage and there must be some evacuation plan for the workers and for the community people. There was a siren but that was also modified into a muted form. They announced that MIC leaked. They should give wind direction, in West Virginia- they had to evacuate, inform hospital, road traffic, rail traffic, river traffic. Here, there was nothing of the sort. There were so many leaks in the years 1980, 1981 and in 1982 one person died. Through unions, we raised issues about dangerous conditions, wrote letters to the Chief Minister and the Prime Minister and concerned departments and we also warned the poor people living behind the factory. But they (the authorities) did not support us. Ultimately government made enquiry and said it was safe plant!

UCIL’s irresponsible policy of dumping waste still continues to contaminate soil and water

Chouhan: In 1969, they were damaging the plant premises. There are still thousands of tonnes of toxic soil. There are nearly 25 dump areas. They have collected samples from different areas. The court case is running to neutralize that material. There is no plan to decontaminate the soil. In every rainy season, the underground water is getting contaminated also. That includes mercury also. Here also when the equipment broke, some material leaked and they have kept it over there. Here there was a tall equipment. You have to climb up a plant structure to see the mercury lying around. Here you can see mercury lying even after thirty years. I can recover nearly 5 kilograms of mercury from here itself. 340 metric tonnes of toxic waste is still lying here waiting to be disposed off. They just dug out a pond here and dumped toxic waste. This is not mud, it is benzene hexachloride. They dumped a variety of organic chemicals here and this is just one of the areas where they dumped it. After 30 years not a single kilogram of toxic waste was neutralized either by Union Carbide or Union Government. This is acting as a slow poison to the poor people who live in nearby areas.


Written by Virendra Wadgama

December 8, 2014 at 8:01 pm

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RIP Phillip Huhes

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Phillip Hughes has died as a result of the injuries he sustained when struck by a bouncer on Tuesday, Cricket Australia has confirmed. He was 25.

Team doctor Peter Brukner confirmed the news in a statement released on Thursday afternoon.

“It is my sad duty to inform you that a short time ago Phillip Hughes passed away,” Brukner said. “He never regained consciousness following his injury on Tuesday. He was not in pain before he passed and was surrounded by his family and close friends.

“As a cricket community we mourn his loss and extend our deepest sympathies to Phillip’s family and friends at this incredibly sad time. Cricket Australia kindly asks that the privacy of the Hughes family, players and staff be respected.”

Players, coaches and other friends had been in and out of St Vincent’s Hospital in Sydney throughout Wednesday and Thursday, visiting Hughes and supporting his family, and each other. Australia’s captain Michael Clarke, a close friend of Hughes, had been at the hospital until after midnight on Wednesday night and returned at about 6am on Thursday.

Brad Haddin, Steven Smith, Shane Watson, David Warner, Nathan Lyon, Moises Henriques, Mitchell Starc and Daniel Smith all spent time at the hospital, as did Ricky Ponting, Simon Katich, Phil Jaques and Brett Lee. Some flew in from interstate, including Aaron Finch, Matthew Wade, Peter Siddle, Peter Forrest, George Bailey, Ed Cowan, Justin Langer, and Cricket Australia’s CEO James Sutherland and high performance manager Pat Howard. The national coach Darren Lehmann was there as well.

The Hughes family had kept vigil at the hospital, including his mother and sister, who had been at the Sheffield Shield match between South Australia and New South Wales on Tuesday when Hughes was struck by the bouncer while batting on 63.

Hughes missed his attempted hook and the ball struck him below the helmet, causing a cerebral haemorrhage. He underwent surgery on Tuesday after being rushed to hospital from the SCG, and was then in an induced coma.

“It’s really a matter of millimetres and the bad luck of the actual site of the impact,” sports doctor Peter Larkins told the Australian on Wednesday. “It’s very critical what part of the brain gets hit, you can actually just get a bruised brain or simply a crack in the skull when you get hit in certain parts of the head and not have anything as serious as Phillip has got. In this case it’s hit a particular artery at the base of the neck that has burst.

“So it’s like bursting a water-main and there’s just an incredible release of blood from the burst artery and that’s where the bleeding in the brain, the cerebral haemorrhage, occurs.”




Written by Virendra Wadgama

November 27, 2014 at 12:10 pm

Prime Minister’s Statement prior to his departure for Nepal

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Although this is my first SAARC Summit, during the last six months, I have interacted extensively with leaders of SAARC countries beginning with their auspicious presence at my swearing in ceremony. Development of close relations with our neighbours is a key priority for my Government. 

The 18th SAARC Summit will focus on the theme of “Deeper Regional Integration for Peace and Prosperity”. India has always emphasized the importance of greater regional integration at all levels for the socio-economic development of the South Asian region. We have undertaken several initiatives in this regard on bilateral, sub-regional and regional basis, and will continue to do more. We hope that the Summit will lead to concrete outcomes, particularly in regard to various initiatives on enhancing connectivity that have been under discussion for a long time. 

I also look forward to holding bilateral discussions with other South Asian Heads of State and Government on the margins of the SAARC Summit. 

This will be my second visit to Nepal within four months, which reflects the importance we attach to our unique and special relations with Nepal. There has been significant progress in the implementation of the decisions taken during my visit to Nepal in August 2014. I look forward to reviewing the progress in our relations with Prime Minister Sushil Koirala and other Nepalese leaders. We also hope to conclude some concrete agreements in the areas of connectivity and development cooperation


Written by Virendra Wadgama

November 25, 2014 at 2:17 pm

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Twitter chairman Jack Dorsey launches Square Register, a global cash register service AFP

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London: Twitter’s co-founder outlined plans to make cash registers a thing of the past on Thursday as he held a global launch for new software that he said would help small businesses grow.

Jack Dorsey, who is chairman of Twitter and chief executive of the mobile payments company Square, said the software would allow shopkeepers to track sales and provide digital receipts.

“We think it’s a great replacement to any cash register,” Dorsey said at a Financial Times conference in London.

“It means we’re now a global company,” he said.

The software, Square Register, was only available in Canada, Japan and the United States, where it tracked around four million sales a day.

It can now be downloaded for free everywhere else and supports 130 currencies, although it will not allow actual payments for the moment.

The company offered testimonials from businesses in Australia, Hungary, Mexico, Philippines and Vietnam and Dorsey said many had already begun using the software by getting around national controls.

Square teamed up with the smartphone app Snapchat earlier this week for a service that allows users in the United States to send money to friends by simply typing dollar amounts into new “Snapcash” messages.

Written by Virendra Wadgama

November 23, 2014 at 3:08 pm

Racism by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe

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Speech of Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe… A true Story..

Racism will never end as long as white cars are still using black tyres.
Racism Will never end as long we still wash first white clothes, then other colours later.
Racism will never end if people still use black to symbolise bad luck and WHITE for peace!
Racism will never end as long as those who don’t pay their bills are blacklisted not White listed.
Even when playing the snooker, you haven’t won until you sink the black ball, and the white ball must remain on the field.

Written by Virendra Wadgama

November 22, 2014 at 10:59 am

Food Security Bill not Implemented by NC: Sonia Gandhi

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JAMMU: Congress president Sonia Gandhi Friday said lethargy of the National Conference prevented the Congress from implementing its pro-poor programmes in Jammu and Kashmir.

Continuing her day-long election campaign for the Congress, Sonia Gandhi addressed a public meeting in Ramban assembly constituency Friday afternoon.

“They (NC) did not implement our programmes including the food security bill although we gave them full support to run the government,” she said.

The Congress president sought support for party candidate Ashok Kumar for Ramban so that her party could carry forward its agenda of implementing the food security bill in the state.

Gandhi reiterated what she had told an earlier Congress election rally in Bandipora constituency.

“The Congress has over a century-old relationship with Kashmir. We will always be with Kashmir in times of happiness and grief,” she said.

Referring to the links of the Nehru-Gandhi family with the state, she said Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi had an emotional relationship with the state.

She said the state had touched milestones of development when Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad was the chief minister 2005-2008.

“The biggest thing done by the Congress in Kashmir has been to ensure equitable development for all the three regions of the state including Jammu, Kashmir Valley and Ladakh,” she said.

Congress leaders Azad, Ambika Soni and state unit president Saifuddin Soz accompanied Sonia Gandhi during her visit.

Earlier, she addressed a rally in Bandipora that was attended by over 5,000 people.

Ramban and Bandipora constituencies go to the polls Nov 25 in the first phase of the five-phase Jammu and Kashmir assembly elections.

Written by Virendra Wadgama

November 22, 2014 at 1:19 am

World Chess Championship: Anand vs Carlsen 10th Match Draw

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Overcoming some anxious moments, Norwegian world chess champion Magnus Carlsen Friday played out the 10th game of the world chess title match to a 32-move draw against Indian challenger Viswanathan Anand in Russia.

Perhaps the one notable aspect of the game was that Anand was able to queen a pawn, for the first time in the 10 rounds.

However, the additional white queen went off the board the very next move with Carlsen giving up his knight for that.

At the end of this round, Carlsen continued his one-point lead ahead of Anand, with 5.5 points.

He is just a point away – a win or two draws- from retaining the title which he had effortlessly wrested from Anand last year.

Playing white, Anand opened the game pushing his queen pawn forward two squares to which Carlsen replied by bringing out his king-side knight f6 square.

Within a couple of moves, the game got transposed to the Gruenfeld Indian Defence.

“It was a surprise to see Carlsen choosing Gruenfeld defence,” World No.26 and Grandmaster P. Harikrishna told IANS.

“Very peculiar choice by Magnus. I don’t know who can come up with the idea to play this line in the must-not-lose situation,” World No.7 and Grandmaster Anish Giri tweeted.

Anand’s 11th move of placing his black bishop on the g5 square was termed as a rare move. However, it was played in the game between Wosjtazek and Ponomariov in 2012.

At the end of the 11th move, both white and black had their kings castled and all the pieces ready to come to the centre of the board.

For Anand, he had his queen pawn passer on d5 square.

On the 15th move, Anand decided to exchange his knight for Carlsen’s knight and five moves later, the queens went off the board at Anand’s initiative.

World champion Carlsen went deep into thought and played Bd4 on his 19th move, thereby cutting off the white rook’s support to its pawn on d file.

At this juncture, both the players had two rooks, two bishops, one knight and five pawns.

Anand had his pawn on d5 square while Carlsen had one on c4 square. However, structure-wise Carlsen had a better pawn structure on his queen and king sides.

The next move saw Anand slaying Carlsen’s white bishop with his knight. The reigning champion stomped out the enemy knight out of the board.

In the process, the Indian challenger was chewing up time on his clock. At the end of the 24th move, Anand had to make 16 moves in 24 minutes.

Anand’s 24th Rd2 move was considered bad as he did not try to control the open e file which Carlsen controlled with his Re8 move.

“Re8 was an important move by Carlsen. In the end game, controlling the e file is important which Anand failed to do and with that he had put out any chances of winning a point,” Harikrishna said.

“What is happening is Anand not creating any complications and trying to consolidate a stable plus,” Giri tweeted.

Two moves later, both players exchanged their black bishops and on move 30, Anand queened his d pawn only to be slayed by Carlsen’s knight.

With two rooks and four pawns each, the players signed the peace treaty after Anand made his 32nd move.

At the end of this round, Carlsen has 5.5 points to Anand’s 4.5 in the 12-round match.

The 11th round will be played Sunday with the players resting Saturday.

Written by Virendra Wadgama

November 22, 2014 at 1:13 am

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