In the continuing court case being heard in the Madhya Pradesh High Court, Jabalpur, the judge has ordered notices to appear to be served on Union Carbide Corporation at its former US headquarters and at the head office of Dow Chemical its 100% owner.
The court has also welcomed the intervention of survivors’ organisations in the case, and has overruled objections from state and central officialdom that the NGOs were more of a hindrance than a help. Survivors and their supporters have indeed hindered the “clean-up” began by the MP state government, objecting to the use of untrained workers with no safety gear or equipment, to the raising of clouds of toxic dust that covered whole neighbourhoods and left several people hospitalised, and to the unsafe containment methods being proposed by the authorities.
The Hon. Justices were evidently less than convinced by the assertions of the state authorities that they are quite capable of dealing with the matter. The state’s scientific authority NEERI (National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Nagpur) has a long and shameful history of incompetence and cover-up. See this article. In the court’s judgement the NGOs have the potential to transform themselves from mere critics of the government to valuable advisors and have accordingly alloted them time to draw up a “road map” plan.
For the relevant court orders, please see the Press Releases archive.