Three NGOs working for the welfare of survivors of Bhopal Gas
Tragedy, world's worst industrial disaster, have condemned the
Indian government’s collusion with the two American multinationals
as the chief obstruction to justice for the Bhopal gas victims.
Addressing a joint press conference
here on the occasion of the upcoming 25th Anniversary of the Union
Carbide disaster in Bhopal, leaders of the three survivors’
organizations viz. Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari
Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha and Bhopal
Group for Information & Action said that while the Indian government
officially holds Dow Chemical (the new owners of defunct Union
Carbide factory from where poisonous gas spewed in December 1984)
liable for environmental crimes in Bhopal and has sought $ 22
million as advance for clean up, but it has taken no steps against
the Indian subsidiaries of Dow Chemical.
The organizations pointed out that Dow
Chemical paid $350,000 as fine to the US Securities & Exchange
Commission for having paid 200, 000 $s bribes to Indian government
officials yet the Indian government has not taken action against
this eight year old crime.
Satinath Sarangi, a representative of
the Bhopal Group for Information and Action, the Bhopal survivors’
organizations, said that Union Ministers Kamalnath, P. Chidambaram,
Jairam Ramesh and other ministers in the Union Cabinet and Deputy
Chairman Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia have been
exposed as lackeys of Dow Chemical.
It may be mentioned here that NGOs
working among the gas victims suggest that it was a "conspiracy" to
ease pressure on the new owner of Union Carbide M/s Dow Chemicals
for cleaning up the plant and a sequel to the letter of the then
Union Commerce & Industry Minister Kamalnath who wrote to the Prime
Minister in 2006 asking him to "liberate" Dow Chemicals from
liabilities of Bhopal, which would pave way for $ one billion
investment by the company in India.
The NGOs expressed the hope that it
will not be long before they succeed in making Dow Chemical Company
clean up the poisons from Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, the then
Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson is extradited from USA, the
Empowered Commission on Bhopal is set up by the Central government
and the lies being spread by the Madhya Pradesh Government are
The representatives of the three
organizations recounted their victories over Dow Chemicals and Union
Carbide over the years gone by in their struggle for justice for the
survivors. They stated that Dow Chemical has not been able to make
any significant investment in India for the last eight years after
it took over Union Carbide. Last year Dow Chemical’s proposed Global
R & D centre near Pune was demolished by supporters of Bhopal
survivors and this year in Chennai, Delhi, England, Scotland & Italy
were targeted for direct action by survivors and their supporters.
They said that the prestigious Indian
Institutes of Technology continue to bar Dow Chemical from
recruiting on campus and recently the Chennai based The Hindu
newspaper publicly rejected Dow Chemical’s sponsorship of a music
festival. The organizations stated that pressure on Dow Chemical
will be intensified this year with activists from more than 20
countries, and in more than 100 locations in 22 states of India,
taking action against Dow – Union Carbide on December 3.
The organizations also condemned the
Indian government’s negligence towards extraditing Warren Anderson
against whom a fresh non-bail-able arrest warrant has been issued in
July this year.
They lamented that the Prime Minister
of India has failed to keep his 14 month old promise of setting up
the Empowered Commission on Bhopal for medical care and
rehabilitation of Bhopal’s poisoned people and their future
generations. They said that the failure of government agencies is
apparent by the facts that over 130, 000 survivors are still
chronically ill from exposure related illnesses, tens of thousands
of children born to exposed parents suffer from growth disorders and
horrific birth defects and people continue to die untimely deaths
from Union Carbide’s poisons.