Ndtv.com, July 14, 2008
About 500 people, including alumni and faculty members of IIT-Bombay on Monday protested the inclusion of US chemical giant Dow Chemical as a sponsor for its golden jubilee conference in New York, alleging that the firm failed to provide adequate compensation to Bhopal gas tragedy victims.
An ‘open letter’ signed by 43 faculty members of IIT-B along with an alumni petition came in response to the organisers’ “callous” approach towards addressing the issue and accepting Dow Chemical as its main sponsor “despite the company’s tarnished reputation and its disregard for Indian law,” a statement released by the IIT-B alumni said in New Delhi.
The conference is being organised by the IIT-B Heritage Fund from July 18-20, 2008, in New York.
“DOW’s mishandling of its subsidiary Union Carbide’s environmental and criminal liabilities in Bhopal, its track record of unethical and illegal business practices, and its disregard for Indian courts disqualifies it in our eyes from any legitimate alliance with institute that believes in excellence, fair play and dignity,” the statement said.
Attempts by Dow to develop relationships with IITs had been thwarted by students, alumni and faculty last year too, when 1000 IITians signed a petition urging the IITs to bar Dow from on-campus recruitment or sponsoring programmes.
The company had to call off its recruitment and sponsorship plans in Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Kharagpur and New Delhi after the protest.