‘Give back the sponsorship from Dow Chemicals’
13 Jan, 2010 by Gokul Chandrasekar from Express Buzz
CHENNAI: Second generation victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy are in town to urge Anna University to return the Rs 5 lakh sponsorship obtained from Dow Chemicals, the company that presently owns the Union Carbide factory that caused the gas disaster in 1984.
“Accepting Dow’s sponsorship will harm Anna University’s reputation and will also legitimize Dow,’’ says Yasmeen, 17, who suffers from multiple ailments due to consumption of contaminated water, an aftereffect of the gas tragedy.
The sponsorship has been obtained for the annual international conference and technical festival, ‘Kurukshetra’. According to an alumnus, this is the third consecutive year that Dow is sponsoring the event.
“Dow is in the midst of a massive public relations crisis and sponsoring an event at a premier institution like Anna University will help them overcome this,” says Nityanand Jayaraman, a member of the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal.
The victims, supported by Anna University alumni have made repeated attempts to speak to the university management, faculty and students but were denied permission. Numerous letters have been written to student organizers to dump Dow, but in vain.
“The cancellation of sponsorship will not please the Center for University-Industrial Collaboration as they are looking tp to Dow for campus placements,’’ said a university staff member who did not want to be named.
Ironically, the Bhopal gas tragedy forms part of the syllabus of the ‘Professional Ethics’ paper for mechanical engineering students at the University.