INTERNATIONAL CAMPAIGN FOR JUSTICE IN BHOPAL
Press Statement for Immediate Release, May 27, 2005
Bhopal survivors today wrote letters in their own blood to the Prime Minister of India and the CEO of Indian Oil Corporation, demanding that the government-owned corporation abandon plans to do business with Union Carbide or its new owner Dow Chemical.
The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal and their supporters meanwhile launched a nation wide boycott of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), urging people all over the country “DON’T FILL YOUR CAR WITH BHOPALI BLOOD. REMEMBER BHOPAL, BOYCOTT INDIAN OIL”.
Indian Oil has recently approved a technology purchase agreement with Dow Chemical to source Union Carbide’s technology for the Mono Ethylene Glycol unit at its upcoming Naptha refinery in Panipat, Haryana. The campaigners also opposed government plans for disposal of hazardous chemical waste in and around the abandoned Union Carbide factory in Bhopal, saying that it will create yet another disaster in Bhopal.
The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal had written to Shri. Mani Shankar Aiyar, Minister of Petroleum in February this year calling for a suspension of the matter of purchasing Union Carbide technology. The private secretary to the Minister of Petroleum responded by stating that technology from Dow was most “technocommercially viable” and that the technology purchase involved Dow and not Union Carbide. Alleging “lack of screening of investment” at the Ministry of Petroleum, the Bhopal campaigners presented evidence that establishes that the technology IOC is purchasing is indeed METEOR EO 180 catalyst based technology owned by Union Carbide Corporation. The campaigners condemned the Petroleum Ministry’s attempts to do business with a corporation that has killed over 20 thousand Bhopalis and continues to abscond from Indian courts.
In Bhopal Mr. Ilyas Ismail, President, Nagar Vahan Seva Sangh , Mr. Syed Israr Hassan, President, Auto Rickshaw Owner’s Association, Mr. Mohammed Anwar Khan, President, Private Bus Owner’s Association, Mr. Nawab Khan, President, Taxi Drivers Union (Congress), Mr. Baba Khan, President, Mini Truck Owner’s Association have supported the call for boycotting Indian Oil Corporation.
The boycott is also being launched in Mayiladuthurai, Tamilnadu, the constituency of Mr. Aiyar where a club of “Bullet” or “Royal Enfield” enthusiasts called Madras Bulls will ride to Chennai in a rally today. Mr Shahid Noor from Bhopal ki Aawaaz will be participating in the events in Mayiladuthurai. All India Van Drivers Association, with more than 7000 members, and “We Feel Responsible” a Chennai-based youth group are also joining the ICJB in launching the boycott.
The Bhopal based activists of ICJB condemned the attempts of the State and Central governments to help Dow / Union Carbide evade the liabilities for the reckless dumping of hazardous waste and contaminating ground water. They charged that the proposed Task Force for dealing with hazardous waste had too many representatives from government agencies with known record of gross incompetence and demanded that the Task Force must include scientists and engineers nominated by survivors’ organizations. Commenting on the plans for disposal of hazardous waste in a “Secured Landfill”, members of the ICJB said it will be a legal, technical and public health disaster of proportions matching the world’s worst industrial disaster.
The campaigners, however, agreed with official plans for “temporary containment” of toxic waste to prevent further contamination of soil and ground water during the rains. They said that this proposed step is no different from what members of ICJB set out to do in November 2002. The activists are strongly opposed to final disposal of toxic waste by the government as this will violate the “Polluter pays principle”, allow Dow/Carbide to go scot free and will impose grave environmental and health risks locally.
Rashida Bi, Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
Syed M Irfan,
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
Bhopal ki Aawaaz
Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra,
Bhopal Group for Information and Action
House No. 12, Gali No. 2, Near Naseer Masjid, Bag Umrao Dulha, Bhopal Tel: 9303132298, 9329026319, 9826167369
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