The Pioneer, Bhopal, January 18, 2007
After facing a volley of attacks from gas tragedy survivors’ organisation, the Tata Group on Wednesday, through a statement issued a clarification on the intentions of the group vis-a-vis the cleanup of the Union Carbide Plant site.
In a release, a spokesperson for the Tata Group said, “There seems to be considerable misalignment and misunderstanding over the motivation and context of the suggestions made in Mr Tata’s letter dated July 10, 2006 to the Finance Minister. The letter urges that remediation of the Bhopal gas tragedy site to be considered because of the likelihood of contamination of the soil and ground water in the area, which would endanger the health and lives of the people. It suggests that one way forward might be to establish a fund for the remediation of the site. Should the Government and the Courts endorse such a line of action, an effort could be made to bring like-minded corporate houses to contribute to such a fund. These suggestions are totally independent of the issues being addressed in the Courts.
The suggestions made are no different from any public-spirited initiative to clean a polluted river or a site damaged by some abnormal phenomenon. There is a risk that health issues may emerge, which impact not only the unfortunate victims of the Bhopal tragedy but also those citizens of Bhopal, who were not affected by the tragedy but who may be impacted by possible contamination of underground water. It is surely imperative that some initiative be undertaken to clean the site, which has remained neglected for the past 22 years, in the interest of the health and well-being of the people of Bhopal.