Indo-asian News Service, Dec 15, 2007
IIT Delhi rejects Dow Chemicals’ sponsorship offer
New Delhi — Responding to calls from the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) alumni, students and supporters of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy victims’ families, the IIT Delhi has rejected Dow Chemicals’ offer to sponsor an international event in its campus.
The premier technology institute turned down the offer for a three-day international conference organised by its Department of Chemical Engineering, Arvind Kejriwal, a member of the IIT Alumni Association, said Saturday.
At least 20,000 people were killed and several thousands were maimed for life due to the leak of the poisonous methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas from the Union Carbide plant on Dec 2-3, 1984, termed as the worst industrial disaster in history.
Dow Chemicals took over the Union Carbide factory in 2001 but has since been evading its responsibility to clean up the area around the closed plant where toxic waste has continued to affect the health of the people living in the neighbourhood.
The decision to bar Dow Chemicals from sponsoring the event was taken after an institute level meeting of the supporters of the Bhopal survivors and the authorities at the IIT Friday.
‘The IITs have sent a resounding response to Dow that they can keep their blood-tainted money to themselves,’ said Kejriwal, a Magsaysay award winner.
‘We are looking forward to stonewalling Dow at every step of its way. I’m glad our students and youth had more sense than the elders in the government,’ he said.
Last October, more than 1,000 alumni and former faculty members signed a petition addressed to the directors of all IITs urging them to bar Dow Chemicals from any partnership or role in the premier institutes.
Learning of Dow’s plans to recruit from the IIT Madras, students and 22 faculties signed a petition urging its director to bar Dow from on-campus recruitment. More than 300 students and faculty in IIT Bombay also signed a similar petition.
© 2007 Indo-Asian News Service