Bhopal lays massive siege to Carbide’s death factory – "only Dow can do!"

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

Bhopal, July 18, 2007
PRESS STATEMENT
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Bhopalis rage against Indian government collusion with Dow
Thousands of residents of the neighbourhood communities today afternoon laid siege around the abandoned Union Carbide factory in Bhopal that is the source of contamination of the local ground water and soil. They demanded that the owner of Union Carbide, American multinational Dow Chemical, must pay for the environmental and health damages caused due to reckless dumping of hazardous chemical wastes.
SEE MORE PICTURES FROM TODAY’S ACTION HERE
The protestors opposed the Madhya Pradesh government’s plans to send a small part of the hazardous waste for incineration at Ankleshwar, Gujarat and to Pithampur near Indore for disposal in a landfill. They said that waste disposal in this manner would cause environmental pollution and health damage to local residents in both these places. They demanded that the Government of India must make Dow Chemical carry the Bhopal toxic waste to USA for final disposal in the same manner as Unilever was made to carry mercury waste from its factory in Kodaikanal in 2003. They said that in addition to fact that it was legally liable, Dow Chemical with an annual sales of 49 billion dollar in 175 countries was best placed in terms of access to financial and technological resources to deal with the Bhopal hazardous waste problem.
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A human chain encompassed the perimeter wall of Carbide’s rotting factory today, signalling Bhopal’s determination to stand in the way of government attempts to let Dow off the hook
The residents pointed out that the current rains were bringing in
contaminated water in to their communities from the factory and the state government had done nothing to stop the toxic flood. They said that the 386 tonnes of waste that the government wished to dispose off through incineration was less than 5 % of the toxic waste that requires safe disposal.
The leaders of the three organizations who led the agitation by local
residents said that they had documents from the Prime Minister’s office that show that the government was working on a secret deal with Dow Chemical on the matter of its liabilities in Bhopal. They pointed out that Dow Chemical was fined 325, 000 $s by the United States Securities and Exchange Commission in February 2007 for paying bribes of 200,000 US dollars to officials in India from 1996 to 2001. “Dow Chemical paid thousands of dollars in bribe to get its pesticides approved for the Indian market,” said Rashida Bee, one of the leaders, “We wonder how much the company is paying to buy up the Indian government on the issue of legal liabilities of the company.”
The leaders said that in 1989 the Indian government had entered in to
collusive settlement with Union Carbide that was condemned as a betrayal by the entire country. They said that documents from the Prime Minister’s Office regarding the proposed deal with Dow Chemical shows that the UPA government was willing and ready to once again betray the interests of the victims of Bhopal.
Rashida Bi, Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
94256 88215
Syed M Irfan,
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
93290 26319
Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra
Bhopal Group for Information and Action
98261 67369
*Contact: House No. 60, Near Cold Storage, Union Carbide Road, Chhola,Bhopal

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