Bhopal letter to Prakash Karat

From: Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Group for Information and Action, Children Against Dow Carbide

To: Comrade Prakash Karat, General Secretary, Communist Party of India (Marxist)

July 2, 2010

Dear Comrade Karat,

On behalf of four organizations that have been fighting for the rights to justice and a life of dignity of the people poisoned by Union Carbide, we much welcome your initiative in supporting the 26 years old struggle of the survivors of Bhopal.

We regret that except what has appeared in the media none of us have any information on your visit.  We hear that there will be a public meeting, but have no information on where it will be and at what time. Three of our organizations were not even informed, let alone consulted, before the all party meeting to support the cause of the Bhopal survivors was announced to the media and general public.

We are thankful for the support we have received over the years from members of parliament belonging to your party. At the same time we wish to convey our dismay that the West Bengal government eagerly bought investment by The Dow Chemical Company (TDCC), USA current owner of Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), USA, to set up a chemical complex near Haldia, West Bengal.

We hope that as part of your renewed commitment to the survivors of Bhopal you will please ensure that in all states where your party is in power, investment by TDCC is not welcome. Further, in the three states where your party is in power, an executive order to blacklist products manufactured by TDCC, UCC and EIIL (Eveready Industries India Limited, formerly Union Carbide India Limited) would put substantial pressure upon these corporations to fulfill their legal liabilities for the ongoing disasters due to toxic gas leak and environmental contamination.

We will much appreciate the support of your party members and supporters:

a. to initiatives in medical care, research and monitoring, economic and social rehabilitation by survivors and supporters organizations through financial help and volunteers.

b. to ongoing efforts towards assessment of the depth and spread of toxic contamination.

c.  in producing a critique of the pollution studies carried out by CSIR agencies such as NEERI, NGRI and IICT  and medical research carried out by the ICMR and the Centre for Rehabilitation Studies,Government of Madhya Pradesh.

d. in organizing a national consumer boycott of products manufactured by TDCC, UCC and EIIL.

We will much appreciate your party’s initiatives in organizing nationwide public protests directed at putting pressure on the central government :

a. for disbursement of adequate additional compensation for all deaths and personal injuries caused by the Union Carbide gas disaster, including deaths occurring after 1997 and those wrongfully rejected.

b. for moving on the extradition of the authorized representatives of two US corporations, UCC and Union Carbide Eastern Incorporated, Hong Kong (reincarnated as Union carbide Asia Pacific and Union Carbide Asia Ltd.)

c. for setting up the Empowered Commission on Bhopal (ECoB) for long term medical, economic, social and environmental rehabilitation of the people poisoned by Union Carbide’s  toxic gases and hazardous wastes.

d. for taking legal and extra-legal action against TDCC’s Indian subsidiary (albeit, veiled) Dow Chemical International Pvt. Ltd. towards enforcement of jurisdiction of Indian courts. As you are aware, for the last five years, TDCC has been stonewalling central government’s application for Rs. 100 Crores to be paid by TDCC as
advance for clean up of toxic wastes in Bhopal by claiming (through its counsel Abhishek M Sanghvi) to be outside the jurisdiction of the MP High Court.

e. for immediate stopping of the incineration of Union Carbide’s hazardous wastes at Pithampur, Dhar. The incinerator newly built for this purpose, blatantly violates CPCB guidelines  and has already, on June 25, 2010 caused toxic exposure and injury to six workers. Environment Minister, Jairam Ramesh, proposes to hold a meeting in Bhopal on July 5 at which he is expected to defend the indefensible stand of the government with regard to the disposal of Union Carbide’s hazardous waste.

f. for immediate scrapping of plans of dismantling the MIC and Sevin plant and other remaining structures of the abandoned factory and involving the survivors in creating a living memorial to the disaster that informs present and future generations about the worst corporate massacre in world history.

g. for inclusion of information and analysis on the two ongoing disasters in Bhopal in school and college text books.

In these times, when there are attempts to legitimize the injustices following the Union Carbide disaster through the Civil Nuclear Liabilities Bill, the struggle for justice in Bhopal has aquired greater meaning and significance than ever. We are thankful for your commitment to support this ongoing struggle.

Yours sincerely,

Rashida Bee, Champa Devi Shukla – Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh

Syed M Irfan – Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha

Rachna Dhingra, Satinath Sarangi – Bhopal Group for Information and Action
98261 67369

Safreen Khan – Children Against Dow Carbide

Contact: C/o: ICJB, 44 Sant Kanwar Ram Nagar, Berasia Road, Bhopal, MP-462001

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