Legal options will be explored to hold Dow Chemicals accountable: Manmohan
• Manmohan meets delegation, agrees to some demands
• Time-bound plan for delivery of safe drinking water
• Scientific assessment of the spread of toxic contamination
• Funds to address all health issues related to tragedy
NEW DELHI: The victims of the Bhopal gas disaster on Monday called off their indefinite hunger strike after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh met a 10-member delegation and agreed to some of their demands.
Six persons, including three survivors of the disaster, were on an indefinite fast for the last six days. The Prime Minister’s Office said they agreed to a time-bound plan for the delivery of safe drinking water to communities affected by contamination of water, scientific assessment of the depth and spread of toxic contamination in and around the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, and funds to address all health issues related to contamination. Dr. Singh assured the delegation that the Centre was fully committed to providing relief to the victims of the disaster and ensuring their welfare. He said he would explore possible legal options to hold Dow Chemicals accountable.
The Bhopal survivors had demanded that the Government make Dow Chemicals pay for the clean-up of toxic contamination, as well as pay compensation for the health and environmental damage caused by reckless dumping of chemical wastes. They had also demanded that the Government stop buying Dow products and halt the company’s expansion in India until it accepted pending liabilities of the disaster.
“We are ashamed and outraged that the Prime Minister of the world’s largest democracy has openly admitted to his inability to pressure an American multinational,” said Sathyanath Sarangi, one of the six persons who were on hunger strike.
The Bhopal campaigners have resolved to take direct action against Dow and Union Carbide’s businesses nationally and internationally over the next few months. “All our energies will be focussed on putting the brakes on Dow’s business in India,” said Champa Devi Shukla, Goldman Award winner, who was also on hunger-strike.