Ethics Case Study- 27
Arun joined a large private coal based power producing firm as a Graduate Trainee. After one year of training at different facilities of the company he was finally posted at a production unit. In the past one year of his service, Arun had availed a loan of INR 3 Lakhs from the company to pay off his education loan. He had tough financial background and this benefit so early in the service won the company a great admiration to Arun.
For past several days Arun has been making an observation at this unit. Late in the nights the chimney of the unit spills off an unusual black smoke. He noticed it for a few days until upon some enquiry he found out that the ESPs (device to separate coal ash from the smoke finally going to chimney) are switched off to save power as they consume a substantial power produced to run them. Arun knows that this is in violation of the law. ESPs shall mandatorily run in a coal based power plant of a unit as this. Switching them off in a running plant violates the environmental laws. Moreover in the long run this practice shall degrade the atmosphere of this area. He talks to his manager but the manager asks him to keep off this and explains him that this company makes huge money saving power by keeping ESPs off for a few hours daily. And he further cunningly says that no one can see smoke late in the night in this sparsely populated forest area. A few days later Arun gets a chance to see his unit head. He puts the issue back. The unit head warns him of dire consequences if he further raises this issue. He also threatens him to sack. Next morning Arun is served with a show-cause notice against some irregularities in his work and his identity card has been blocked for an automatic attendance. His presence in the office was recorded in person by another staff but without his signature.
Arun wants to complain this violation of environment to government authorities but in doing so he will finally have to lose his job and loan repayment is a burden he cannot bear. If sacked on corruption charges, he faces a chance of career blockade.
Suggest a path ahead for Arun. (150 words)
By Prasoon Kaushik