Press Release: Benign Buffet, November 28, 2009

Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh

Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha

Bhopal Group for Information and Action

November 26, 2009 – Press Statement

Addressing a press conference held on the occasion of the upcoming 25th Anniversary of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal, leaders of three survivors’ organizations today expressed hope that it will not long before they succeed in making Dow Chemical clean up the poisons from Bhopal, Anderson is extradited from USA, the Empowered Commission on Bhopal is set up by the central government and the lies being spread by the Madhya Pradesh government are exposed.

Recounting their victories over Dow chemical and Union Carbide the organizations stated that Dow Chemical has not been able to make any significant investment in India for the last eight years after it took over Union Carbide. Last year Dow Chemical’s proposed Global R & D centre near Pune was demolished by supporters of Bhopal survivors and this year in Chennai, Delhi, England, Scotland & Italy were targeted for direct action by survivors and their supporters. They said that the prestigious Indian Institutes of Technology continue to bar Dow Chemical from recruiting on campus and recently the Chennai based The Hindu newspaper publicly rejected Dow Chemical’s sponsorship of a music festival. The organizations stated that pressure on Dow Chemical will be intensified this year with activists from more than 20 countries, and in more than 100 locations in 22 states of India, taking action against Dow – Union Carbide on December 3, 2009.

The organizations condemned the Indian government’s collusion with the two American multinationals as the chief obstruction to justice for the Bhopal survivors. They said that while the Indian government officially holds Dow chemical liable for Union Carbide’s environmental crimes in Bhopal and has sought 22 million $s as advance for clean up, it has taken no steps against the Indian subsidiaries of Dow Chemical. The organizations pointed out that Dow Chemical paid 350, 000 $s as fine to the US Securities & Exchange Commission for having paid 200, 000 $s bribes to Indian government officials yet the Indian government has not taken action against this eight year old crime. The organizations said that Kamalnath, Chidambaram, Jairam Ramesh and other ministers of the Union cabinet  and Chairman Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwahlia have been exposed as lackeys of Dow Chemical. The organizations also condemned the Indian government’s negligence towards extraditing Anderson against whom a fresh non-bailable arrest warrant has been issued in July this year.
The representatives of the Bhopal survivors’ organizations said that the Prime Minister of the country has failed to keep his 14 month old promise of setting up the Empowered Commission on Bhopal for medical care and rehabilitation of Bhopal’s poisoned people and their future generations. They said that the failure of government agencies is apparent by the facts that over 130, 000 survivors are still chronically ill from exposure related illnesses, tens of thousands of children born to exposed parents suffer from growth disorders and horrific birth defects and people continue to die untimely deaths from Union Carbide’s poisons. Presenting a copy of a letter from the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister to the Prime Minister, the leaders of the organizations said that the MP CM was the main obstruction in the setting up of the badly needed Empowered Commission.

The organizations pointed out that the six reports of the Supreme Court Monitoring committee have indicted the state government for its failure in providing medical relief and its pathetic record of providing economic rehabilitation is evident by the fact that less than 100 survivors have been offered gainful employment. They said that while the Ministry of Bhopal Gas Tragedy has asked for Rs. 980 crores (213 million US $s) from the Union government for rehabilitation of the Bhopal survivors, the Minister along with the state Chief Minister are busy pronouncing the disappearance of exposure related health problems and contaminants in soil and ground water. The organizations said that they will launch the “Jhoot bole kaua kaate” (crow bites liars) campaign to nail the state government’s lies. As part of this they will be organizing a “Benign Buffet” on Nov 28 at which the members of the state cabinet and the bureaucracy would be invited to eat such “delicacies” as Semi-Processed Pesticide on Watercress and Lime Sludge Mousse. Director of Defence Research Development Establishment, Gwalior Dr R Vijayraghavan and Director of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Nagpur who have certified Union Carbide’s chemical wastes to be orally ingestible are also invited.

 

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