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Bhopal survivors arrive in the US

April 22nd – Rashida Bee and Champa Devi Shukla, gas affected survivors and leaders of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karamchari Sangh (Bhopal Gas Affected Women’s Stationery Workers’ Union / BGPMSKS), and Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action arrived in Texas, US today for a 40 day tour. During their tour, Rashida Bee and Champa Devi will visit various communities affected by Dow Chemical, and also engage in strategic discussion with support groups to strengthen their struggle for justice. The survivors will also be confronting senior executives of Dow and shareholders at the company’s annual shareholder meeting with Dow’s pending liabilities in Bhopal, on May 8th in Midland, Michigan. Mrs. Champa Devi stated, “It’s been two years since we first met with Dow officials in India, and in this time we’ve not received a single concrete proposal on how they’ll address their responsibilities in Bhopal. So long as babies in Bhopal nurse on mothers milk that contains toxic chemicals, DOW’s name will remain internationally associated with corporate injustice.”

See the survivors’ full tour schedule and press statement here.

Find Tour information resources here.

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Answered: the $333 million question

March 21 – An affidavit sumitted to the Indian Supreme Court on March 9 has at last unravelled the missing money mystery, confirming that R1,505 Crores of the 1989 civil settlement between the Government of India and Union Carbide remains undistributed. Addressing a press conference today three survivors’ organisations demanded immediate payment of the money, which the government has already agreed in principle to do. In the short term, the balance of the settlement fund could make a significant positive difference to the lives of survivors, tens of thousands of whom face destitution.

Rashida Bee, President of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh said “Thanks to the relentless efforts of our lawyer Mr. S Muralidhar, our stand that there is a balance of over Rs. 1500 crores left in the settlement fund has been vindicated. The government has earlier agreed “in principle” that this belongs to the claimant victims, now it must practice the principle it holds.” The survivors’ organisations also announced a March 25 meeting with the Gas relief Minister to discuss the need for piped water in the contamination affected communities.

You can read the affidavit of the Reserve Bank of India affirming the $333 million of remaining compensation in this DOC1.

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Could survivors finally receive what the Indian government was first given 15 years ago?

Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
Bhopal Group for Information and Action
—————————————————————————————

March 21, 2004
Press Statement

Addressing a press conference on ‘urgent issues of Bhopal’ today, three organizations active among the survivors of the December ’84 Union Carbide disaster in this city demanded immediate payment of the balance of compensation fund among the claimant victims. They said their claim that over Rs. 1500 crores was left as balance has been vindicated by the affidavit submitted before the Supreme Court of India by the Reserve Bank of India recently. Leaders of the organizations also spoke about the issue they will be discussing with the Minister, Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation at their meeting on March 25, 2004 on supply of piped drinking water to the communities affected by water contamination.

The affidavit of the Reserve Bank of India was submitted on March 9, 2004 in the matter of the Writ Petition filed by Mrs. Rashida Bee, Mrs. Champa Devi Shukla and 34 others on March 5, 2003. In July 2003, the Union of India had filed an affidavit claiming that only Rs. 475.76 crores were left as balance in the compensation fund.

The figures presented in the Reserve Bank of India’s affidavit have been analysed by Mr. Mohan Mani a Corporate Analyst at the Centre for Workers Management in Bangalore and they show Rs. 1505.46 crores as the balance amount on December 31 2003.

Mrs. Rashida Bee, President of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh said ” Thanks to the relentless efforts of our lawyer Mr. S Muralidhar, our stand that there is a balance of over Rs. 1500 crores left in the settlement fund has been vindicated. The government has earlier agreed “in principle” that this belongs to the claimant victims, now it must practice the principle it holds.”

Speaking on the meeting with the Minister of Gas Relief Mr. Syed M Irfan, President of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, said “The meeting will be on one issue and that is supply of piped drinking water from Kolar reservoir to the residents of the 12 communities adjacent to the Union Carbide factory. Summer has already started and the supply of water through tankers to these communities is grossly inadequate. There are too many diseases among the 20, 000 people in these communities from drinking contaminated water and babies are nursing on poisoned milk. They must have piped water without delay.”

Mrs. Rashida Bi, Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh

Syed M Irfan, President
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha

Rachna Dhingra, Satinath Sarangi
Member
Bhopal Group for Information and Action
——————————————————————————-

Contact :
1. House No. 12, Gali No. 2, Near Naseer Masjid, Bag Umrao Dulha, Bhopal Tel: 3132298,
2. B-2 / 302, Sheetal Nagar, Berasia Road, Bhopal Tel : 9826167369
For more information please visit www.bhopal.net

&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&&

Analysis of figures presented in affidavit of the Reserve Bank of India submitted before the Supreme Court of India on March 9, 2004 by Mr. Mohan Mani, Corporate Analyst, Centre for Workers’ Management, Bangalore.
Tel : 080 23631222, Email : nbamm@vsnl.net
——————————————————————————-

1. The amount received for compensation was deposited with the RBI, which created two separate accounts a rupee account (Account A) and a dollar account (Account B). The rupee account received the initial rupee payment, and all the interest from various government securities into which the money (both rupee and dollar account) was invested. The money in the dollar account was also held as rupees at a then conversion rate of $6.55 to Rs.100 (About Rs.15 per dollar).

2. All payout as compensation was made from the rupee account. Whenever there was a shortfall in the rupee account, it was made good by disinvesting the securities in the dollar account. However, at the time the government also compensated for the difference in exchange rate, i.e. the rate on the date on which it was originally credited viz Rs 100 per $6.55 and the rate prevalent as on the date of disinvesting the securities. The exchange rate compensation was also credited to the rupee account. As per para 18 of the affidavit, the total amount in the dollar account was (641.22 + 2.15) Rs.643.37 crores.

3. As per para 23 of the RBI affidavit, the total disinvestment from the dollar account was about Rs.167.60 crores. The balance in the dollar account was (643.37 167.60) about Rs.475.77 crores.

4. As per para 24 of the affidavit, the realizable value of the securities as on 31-12-2003 was Rs.578.90 crores. This includes the amount in the dollar account. If all the securities were to be liquidated, the government would in addition to the Rs.578.90 crores also have to compensate for the exchange difference on the dollar account amount.

5. To calculate the exchange difference, we first calculate the dollar equivalent of the balance at $6.55 to Rs.100. This works out to $31.16 crores. Then applying a current exchange rate of Rs.45 per dollar, the present value of $31.16 crores works out to Rs.1402.33 crores. Thus the exchange difference is (1402.33 475.77) Rs.926.56 crores. This amount has to be added to the realizable value of the securities. The liquidation value of the securities thus works out to Rs.1505.46 crores.

The table below summarizes the calculations.

Total liquidation value of securities
(as on 31-12-2003)

($crores)(Rs.crores)
Realisable value of securities578.90
(as on 31-12-2003)
Dollar account balance475.77
(as on 31-12-2003)
Dollar equivalent31.16
(exchange rate of $6.55 to Rs.100)
Current rupee value of dollars1402.33
(exchange rate of $1 to Rs.45)
Exchange difference for dollars926.56
(1402.33 – 475.77)
Total liquidation value of securities1505.46
(578.90 + 926.56)

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Carbide’s Warren Anderson makes it onto Rotten.com

rotten.com is a website dedicated to exposing all that is vilest and most loathsome in human behaviour. It features pictures that turn the stomach, stories of utter evil. It is not easy to do something bad enough to gain a place in that company but Mr Warren Anderson has managed it. For 11 years he, and his company Union Carbide, have refused to return to Bhopal to stand trial in an Indian court. In doing so Mr Anderson has abandoned not only his responsibility as a leader of industry, but any pretence of morality. His company’s victims are among the poorest, most helpless people on earth. More than 120,000 of them are still very ill and struggling to sustain life on “compensation” that amounts to 7¢ a day. The survivors’ testimony has never been heard. There has been no chance to cross examine the company executives, or to re-open the question of just compensation. Warren Anderson and Union Carbide have prolonged their agony for 11 years. In Indian, as in US and British law, Anderson and Carbide are innocent until proven guilty. If they are blameless, they have nothing to fear from appearing before the court. But until they do, the survivors of “that night” have little hope of justice.

Anderson and Carbide cannot evade the law forever. Newspaper after newspaper, TV report after TV report, even though the language is restrained, have conveyed a sense of anger and outrage. Small wonder Mr Anderson is in rotten.com. Carbide and its new owners Dow Chemical should be there with him.

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Helicopter buzzes Diane Wilson’s house in attempt to intimidate her into silence

We have to take this very seriously because after a 1992 action against Formosa Plastics, shots were fired from a helicopter at her house, narrowly missing a relative and killing her dog.

PLEASE READ THE FULL STORY BELOW AND CALL KATHY HUNT, DOW PR LEADER AT SEADRIFT Continue reading Helicopter buzzes Diane Wilson’s house in attempt to intimidate her into silence

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Woo hoo, we just got this! Warren Anderson found by Daily Mirror, videotaped and served arrest warrant by Greenpeace in New York

I am happy to say that a few weeks ago I was able, with help from my Greenpeace Colleagues, to track down #1 Corporate Criminal Warren Anderson at his house in New York. Needless to say Warren was not happy to see me, be videotaped or served a warrant for his arrest. But he was.

In the wake of yesterday’s gigantic victory in the Bhopal Courts, Greenpeace is using this recent Anderson sighting to push both the Indian Government and the US State Department to find this man (who I have on tape), arrest him and send him to trial in India.Action alerts pressuring both governments will appear on the Greenpeace Website soon. www.greenpeaceusa.org/bhopal

I’ve attached our US press release and our International release is below! Help spread the word — let’s get this crook! Call me with questions!

Casey Harrell
Greenpeace USA — Toxics Campaigner
casey.harrell@wdc.greenpeace.org
702 H Street NW Suite 300 Wash DC 20001
1 202 319 2497 phone 1 202 462 4607 fax

INTERNATIONAL FUGITIVE AND BHOPAL CORPORATE CRIMINAL TRACKED DOWN IN THE UNITED STATES: GREENPEACE CALLS FOR HIS ARREST

Washington/Amsterdam 29 August 2002 – Greenpeace today called on the U.S. State Department to arrest and extradite international fugitive And Bhopal corporate criminal (1), Warren Anderson, who has been found by a UK newspaper (2) and Greenpeace living a life of luxury in New York State. Anderson, the former Chief Executive Officer of Union Carbide, has been hiding in the United States since an explosion at his company’s plant in Bhopal, India, caused the worst industrial disaster in history in December 1984.

Greenpeace paid Anderson a visit at his U.S. home and handed him an arrest warrant. He has been facing charges of culpable homicide and an extradition order from the government of India for the past eleven years. He has never appeared in court to face charges for crimes in Bhopal or even to explain why his company did not apply the same safety standards at its plant in India that it operated at a sister plant in South Charleston, the U.S. State of West Virginia.

“If a team of journalists and Greenpeace managed to track down India’s most wanted man in a matter of days, how seriously have the U.S. authorities tried to find him all these years? The U.S. has reacted swiftly on curbing the financial corporate crimes of Enron and WorldCom, but has clearly not made much of an effort to find Anderson, responsible for the deaths of 20,000 people in India, said Greenpeace campaigner, Casey Harrell, in the U.S.

On the night of the disaster, when an explosion at Union Carbide’s pesticide plant caused 40 tonnes of lethal gas to seep into the city of Bhopal, six safety measures designed to prevent a gas leak had either malfunctioned, were turned off or were otherwise inadequate. In addition, the safety siren, intended to alert the community should an incident occur at the plant, was turned off.

Union Carbide responded to the disaster by paying survivors inadequate compensation and abandoning the plant, leaving tonnes of dangerous toxic chemicals strewn around the site and the people of Bhopal with a toxic legacy that is still causing injury today. In 2001, the company shed its name by merging with Dow Chemical.

In May this year, the government of India unexpectedly started proceedings to dilute charges against Anderson from culpable homicide to negligent homicide. But yesterday, the judgement of a Bhopal Court rejected the Indian Central Bureau of Investigation’s plea to dilute charges against Anderson. The ruling has been welcomed by those representing the victims in their fight for justice.

Calling on both governments to act swiftly, Mr. Ganesh Nochur, Campaigns Director of Greenpeace India stated, “Now that Anderson’s address is known, India must immediately and formally push for his arrest and extradition on charges of culpable homicide. In return, Greenpeace demands that the U.S. honour this request, per the two nations’ extradition agreement. Anderson and the rest of Union Carbide, now Dow Chemical, should take responsibility for their crimes in Bhopal.”

Bhopal is an ongoing disaster. One hundred twenty thousand people still face serious health problems and children born to survivors are also affected. The toxic chemicals abandoned in Bhopal by the chemical company have contaminated the groundwater that is used by thousands of people who live around the abandoned factory. (3) Greenpeace and Bhopal survivors (4) are calling on Dow Chemical to clean up the factory site at its expense as would be required in the U.S., to secure long-term medical treatment facilities and medical rehabilitation for the survivors of the poisonous gas leak, to ensure economic compensation for the gas-affected people and their families, and to provide clean drinking water to communities that are forced to consume contaminated groundwater.

“As delegates gather at the Earth Summit in Johannesburg, we fully expect corporate crimes such as this to be high on their agenda. International legislation must be established to make sure corporations and their officials are held criminally and financially liable for environmental terrorism. There must be no more Bhopals,” concluded Ganesh.

Notes to editors
In 1992, a warrant was issued for Mr. Anderson’s arrest. He was charged with culpable homicide in connection with the chemical disaster at Union Carbide’s Bhopal plant in 1984. This is an extraditable offence under the extradition treaty between the United States and India. Mr. Anderson has also evaded a summons to appear in a U.S. court for a civil trial relating to the Bhopal disaster.

The Daily Mirror, 29-08-2002. See http://www.mirror.co.uk In 1999, Greenpeace and Bhopal community groups visited the abandoned factory to assess the environmental condition of the site and its surroundings. The team documented the presence of stockpiles of toxic pesticides as well as hazardous wastes and contaminated material scattered throughout the factory site. The survey found substantial and, in some locations, severe contamination of land and water supplies with heavy metals and chlorinated chemicals.

Greenpeaceis campaigning in Bhopal as part of an international NGO coalition AaCcTt including the Bhopal Gas Affected Women Stationery Workers Association, Bhopal Gas Affected Pensioners Association, Bhopal Group for Information and Action, National Campaign For Justice in Bhopal, The Other Media and CorpWatch.

Contact Information
Greenpeace U.S. Casey Harrell
+1 202 319 2497 and +1 202 213 7810
Greenpeace India Ganesh Nochur
+91 11 65 36717 / +91 98 2004 2897
Cecilia Goin, Media Officer
+31 (0) 6 212 96 908

Photographs and video are available on request. Contact John Novis on +31 6 53819121 for photographs, and Thomas McCable Greenpeace U.S. on + 1 202 413 8517

Photos of the Bhopal disaster (from 1984 and the present day) taken by
Magnum photographer Raghu Rai, are available on request from
Greenpeace.

For more information see www.greenpeace.org

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