Monsters & Critics.com, May 4, 2007
New Delhi, May 4 (IANS) The government Friday promised to take action against Dow Chemicals, which has taken over Union Carbide and produces insecticides in India, after investigating reports that it secured registration and approval of its products by bribing Indian officials.
Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar gave the assurance in the Rajya
Sabha in reply to a question by Bharatiya Janata Party MP (BJP) S.S.
Ahluwalia regarding Dow Chemicals’ reported confessions to the US
Securities Exchange Commission (SEC).
The minister said he was aware of the reports. ‘This incident took
place in 1996-2001. Preliminary inquiries showed that one senior
officer of the Central Insecticides Board (CIB) and some officers of
the state were involved. We ordered a CBI (Central Bureau of
Investigation) inquiry into this.’
Dow Chemicals, according to the Bhopal Group for Information and
Action, currently manufactures and sells Dursban (cholrpyrifas) for
home applications in India. But it has withdrawn the product from
household use in the US after it was demonstrated that the chemical
damages children’s brain development.
Dow Agro sciences website describes Dursban as a ‘specialty
insecticide which offers superior control of more than 280 insect
Pawar said the Bhopal gas issue – poisonous gas from the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal leaked out on the night of Dec 2-3 1984 killing thousands – was not related to his ministry.
‘They developed three molecular products and submitted (for approval).
After the US information, we asked them the truth. They told us `We
bribed one officer of CIB who retired in 2001 and some pesticides
control inspectors of the state’.’
He added that the government had asked ‘the concerned authorities’ to look into the application for three molecular clearances and to re-examine the product and to withdraw the clearance if proper standards are not met.
At this stage, an incensed Brinda Karat of the Communist Party of
India-Marxist (CPI-M) got up to say: ‘They are trying to register a
product here that is banned in other countries because of the adverse influence on children.’
She asked pointedly whether the company would be blacklisted or not.
To which Pawar replied: ‘After investigations, definitely action will
be taken against the company.’