In an official letter dated October 28, 2005, the Ministry of Petroleum confirms that the proposed technology transfer between Dow and the Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has been cancelled because of Dow’s “misrepresentation of facts” to the Indian Government. “Initially, it was believed that Dow Chemicals did not have any linkage with M/s Union Carbide…however, based on clarifications furnished by Dow Global Technology Inc., it now emerges that the Process Design Package was prepared by UCC and not by Dow.”
Indian Oil sources confirmed that their agreement with Dow was cancelled after IOC found that critical submissions made by Dow were false. Dow had conveyed to IOC that the technology in question was a patented Dow technology, developed and marketed by Dow. However, Bhopal campaigners unearthed and presented evidence to the Government and IOC that confirmed that the Meteor technology remains a patented Union Carbide technology. In their response to IOC, Dow officials have alleged that the cancellation of the deal has caused a loss of $1.5 million.
In November 2004, after catching wind of the still-secretive deal between Dow & IOC, Bhopal survivors and their supporters launched a nationwide campaign demanding the blacklisting of Dow Chemical by the Government, and protesting against Indian Oil’s proposal to do business with a company that has refused to address its pending Bhopal liabilities.
The campaign included a nationwide boycott of IOC’s petrol pumps, as people were asked not to fill their cars with Bhopali blood. Survivors also wrote letters to the Prime Minister in their own blood, calling for the cancellation of the contract between Dow and IOC. In Chennai, We Feel Responsible, a major chapter of Students for Bhopal, and other supporters led a rally from Mayiladuthurai Petroleum Minister Mani Shankar Aiyar’s constituency against the proposed deal.
Indian Oil’s u-turn is a significant blow to Dow, which has earmarked South Asia as a critical region for future growth of its global businesses. Dow retains four major subsidiaries in India, all of which now look vulnerable to further protests.