My World Through My Words

June 19, 2010

Pipedreams Go Bust

Filed under: International Affairs,Uncategorized — ashwinvk84 @ 12:58 am

Well the BP oil spill saga seems like an Indian serial, there seems to be no end in sight. The environmental catastrophe seems to be going from bad to worse. The BP officials look like a deer caught in the headlights and have no clue on how to solve the problem or let independent agencies have a look at the ruptured pipe. It has been nearly two months since the explosion first happened on the Deepwater Horizon offshore drilling rig, incidentally 11 crewmen lost their lives due to the explosion; the rig has been completely destroyed and has sunk to the bottom of the ocean. The explosion caused the blowout preventers (a safety measure) to not engage and caused the oil well to rupture at three different points and spill into the open ocean. The mere volume of oil gushing out from the pipes is so high that the US environmental agency has declared it the worst oil spill in the history of the United States; and if it continues at the present rate it will soon be the biggest spill in the world itself. The adverse effects on the ecology and the marine life is unfathomable, the US EPA and different NGO’s are trying their best to help all the creatures affected and trying to prevent the ever-increasing oil slick from expanding further. It has also affected the fishing industries in the Gulf of Mexico. The oil slick has been predicated to reach the shores of Mississippi in the coming few days.

The sheer incompetence on the BP management has been amusing to see, with CEO Tony Hayward even first reporting the leak to be insignificant and small to even affect the local habitats. The BP officials were clearly not forth coming to give exact details of the amount of oil spilt and the damage done. Apparently the oil rig explosion was a disaster waiting to happen, it has not been the first time there was a leak or even breakouts of fire on the rig which employs nearly 146 people. It even had to be evacuated once when the rig started listing to one side and started sinking. The region BP was drilling was considered unsafe by a lot of other Petroleum companies due to the presence of high pressure gases rising during drilling. There are a dozen or more internal memo’s to suggest that the engineers have been complaining about the problems present during the drilling process itself and raising safety hazard issues. BP itself has seemed to have overlooked many safety rules and regulations. The US government has already stated that they blamed BP completely for the accident and expected BP to pay for all the damages caused. The CEO was also called to explain the situation and the subsequent actions of the company in front on the world press and a congressional committee. Here Tony Hayward was made to answer few difficult questions and made to publicly apologize for the accident and comments made later on. Watching him get grilled was like watching a school boy being punished for a wrongdoing in front of the whole school and Mr. Hayward didn’t have answers to some of the difficult questions being put forth towards him.

The United States congressional hearing is one of the legislative methods that should be adapted by the Indian Constitution and law makers of the country. I believe it was one of the few important features that the committee writing the constitution failed to adapt into it. It is a truly marvelous method by which big corporate wrongdoers and administrative big shots can be called upon to explain and prove their innocence and clear their names in front of the entire nation. They can be made to answer difficult questions and give their reasons in front of the media. The Indian Constitution and Judiciary at the present has so many loopholes that anyone who can afford a good lawyer can get out too easily. It is great to see that in the United States, corporates are made to explain their positions immediately rather than 26 years later as it happens in India. The CEO of BP was made to be held culpable for any of the damages and irregularities that might be found in the investigation on the oil spill. But in India even after 26 years the people are still waiting for the Indian Government to take some kind of action against the people responsible for the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. The main accused is still absconding and the company that owns the Union Carbide plant hasn’t been held responsible for the accident that took the lives of more than 20,000 people. One can only dream of the day that the Indian Government takes immediate and effective decisions as well as when the Judiciary becomes transparent in their dealings.

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