Bhopal Survivor Groups charge Peer Review Committee on environmental rehabilitation with protecting Dow Chemical from its liability

Press Statement
May 25, 2011

Leaders of five organizations of the survivors of the 1984 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal today condemned the recommendations of the government appointed Peer Review Committee (PRC) on remediation of toxic contamination in and around the abandoned Union Carbide factory.

In a letter submitted to the Chairman of the Oversight Committee on Bhopal Environmental Rehabilitation, Mr. Jairam Ramesh, the organizations charged that the recommendations of the Peer Review Committee were unscientific, unilaterally decided and were designed to help Dow Chemical get away from its Bhopal liabilities by paying a pittance for environmental remediation.

Goldman Environmental prize winner Rashida Bee of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Stationery Karmchari Sangh who took part in the meeting organized by the Oversight Committee today, said that two of the members of the PRC have direct links with Dow Chemical Company, U.S.A. that, as 100 % owner of Union Carbide, U.S.A. is legally liable for the toxic contamination in and around the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal.

She pointed out that the Mumbai based Institute of Chemical Technology, whose director Prof. G D Yadav is a PRC member, has jointly instituted an award with Dow Chemical since 2009. Similarly, another member of the PRC, Dr. Rama Rao is a member of the Advisory Board of InnoCentive Corporation of which Dow Chemical is a member. A third member of the PRC, Dr Arbinda Mitra works with the Non-govermental Organization, India U..S Science & Technology Forum, that was set up with 7 million USD from the U.S. government, Rashida Bee said.

Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action said that majority of the seven-member PRC have long associated with the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) and the Council for Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR). He said that the bias of the PRC is evident by its deliberate disregard and out-of-hand dismissal of adverse comments by experts from the Indian Institutes of Technology in Mumbai, Chennai, Kharagpur,  Delhi and Kanpur on the environmental assessment report by NEERI and other CSIR agencies.

According to Balkrishna Namdeo, President of the Bhopal Gas Pedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha seven Bhopal survivors organizations had presented a scientific review of the NEERI report by waste management experts from The Netherlands, Australia and UK but the comments of these experts have been dismissed out of hand by the PRC. He said that the PRC has run roughshod over critical opinions of the Centre for Science and Environment, New Delhi, Hazards Centre, New Delhi, Greenpeace International and other non governmental agencies.

Calling for the immediate scrapping of the PRC’s recommendations and reconstitution of the Committee to ensure that there were no members with conflict of interest, Nawab Khan of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha stated that the survivors of the Bhopal disaster will not allow the implementation of the recommendations of the PRC at any cost.

He said that thousands of victims of Union Carbide will physically stop the transportation of hazardous waste till they are satisfied that they will be safely disposed off. He warned that any move to dismantle the factory structure will face the wrath of the victims who insist that the structure is conserved as a memorial to the world’s worst industrial disaster.

Rashida Bi,
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh
94256 88215
    
Nawab Khan,
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha

Balkrishna Namdeo,
Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha
98263 45423
    
Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra,
Bhopal Group for Information and Action
98261 67369

Safreen Khan,
Children Against Dow Carbide
9303831487

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