Tomm F. Sprick
Manager Corporate Communications
UNION CARBIDE CORPORATION
Corporate Communications Department
39 Old Ridgebury Rd., Section L4-505
|Tel: (203) 794-6992 Fax: 7031
Mr. Mahesh Mathai April 12, 2000
200 East 30th St. Apartment 9-H
New York, NY 10016
Dear Mr. Mathai:
The management of Union Carbide Corporation and I thank you for the invitations to attend the screening and panel discussion about "Bhopal Express," but the company declines your offer to have a representative present.
Despite our absence, and as you noted in your invitation, Union Carbide had and continues to have compassion for the victims. Reports suggesting that Union Carbide is indifferent to the plight of the victims are untrue. Our relief efforts and attempts at relief have been well documented and efforts to begin compensation talks were prompt and forthcoming. The response all along to our offers - whether of food, medical equipment, or child care facilities - was that the Indian Government could take care of things and that no help was needed. Union Carbide has tried to help, but our offers have been refused or ignored. (For details on our efforts, please see the website, www.bhopal.com, and the page entitled Union Carbide's Bhopal Aid & Relief Efforts.)
Though the tragedy ultimately was shown to have been caused by a disgruntled employee, Union Carbide has never backed away from the position it took immediately after the tragedy; that is, we publicly took moral responsibility for the incident. We did this so that immediate aid could flow to the victims. However, the tragedy continues to be a source of anguish for Union Carbide because, 15 years later, the processing of claims has not been completed. According to newspaper articles we have received, about two-thirds of the claims have been decided and about $240 million had been paid by the end of 1998, despite the fact that accrued interest should substantially have increased the size of the original fund. We think that all of the settlement should to go to the victims.
We are heartened by media reports that a new hospital and clinics in Bhopal - built with $100 million provided by an independent charitable trust that Union Carbide established and funded - is almost finished. According to an Indian newspaper report in February 2000, four mini-units of the hospital are functioning in different parts of the city and the hospital will start providing services in the next two months. We hope the hospital and clinics will benefit the victims and their families.
Again, thank you for your consideration and invitation.
Tomm F. Sprick