The Pioneer, January 17, 2007
Leaders of four organisations of the survivors of the December 1984 Union Carbide disaster announced on Tuesday that they would launch a boycott of Tata products campaign.
They demanded that the Government scrap the proposal submitted by Tata group chairman Ratan Tata for promotion of American multinational Dow Chemical’s business in India.
They would begin the campaign by organising a rally from the Union Carbide factory on Wednesday at 11 am. As a part of the campaign they will request the shopkeepers along the way to return Tata’s salt and tea and take a vow not to sell Tata’s products.
Other organisations fighting for the cause of gas victims too have been invited to boycott Tata’s products. The organisations have written to the Prime Minister, the Minister for Chemical and Fertilisers and Law and Justice, the Chairman of the Group of Ministers on Bhopal and the Vice-Chairman of the Planning Commission and filed applications for copies of Ratan Tata’s proposal and documents related to pressures from the US Government to let Dow Chemicals evade its liabilities in Bhopal.
Hopeful of success, the organisations said that the rally would demonstrate the power of the small shopkeepers whose labour goes on to build Tata’s empire.
The organisations presented a copy of an official letter that showed that M/s Tata Consulting Engineers were involved with the “utilities and general facilities’ of the Union Carbide pesticide factory in Bhopal. These include drainage and other aspects of the plant having a direct-impact on present day pollution problems.
The organisations said that New York courts have jurisdiction over Tata Consulting Engineers and the company could be made answerable in the ongoing case in the USA filed by pollution affected Bhopalis for clean up and compensation.
The organisations reiterated that they would continue with their campaign to make Union Carbide’s current owner Dow Chemicals pay for the clean up of the pollution in and around the abandoned factory in Bhopal.
They said that their success in taking on Dow is evident by the fact that the number one chemical corporation in the world is seeking help from the US Government and one of the most powerful industrialists of India to escape the wrath of the survivors of the Bhopal disaster.