(click here for full document)
BHOPAL. December 3rd, 2007 — on the day survivors have commemorated the 23rd anniversary of Union Carbide’s massacre in Bhopal, the starkest evidence yet of the Indian government’s slavish obeisance to the writ of Dow Chemical has emerged.
Entitled ‘Legacy Issue Resolution Proposal‘, the letter, handed to ambassador Sen in New york on September 21, 2005 and ascribed to the India-US CEO Dialogue Group, stipulates three detailed steps the Indian government must take on Bhopal in order to develop ‘certainty and support for future foreign direct investment’. The letter also demands that the Indian government make all its ministries follow a policy of non-liability for non-Indian companies over Bhopal.
Step number two requires the Indian govt. to establish a ‘Special Commission‘ that will have oversight for a clean-up plan for the contaminated former Union Carbide factory site. Suggested members of this commission were Ratan Tata and Mukesh Ambani – both have become obediently implicated in subsequent efforts to help Dow escape its Bhopal liabilities, whereas in April the Cabinet Secretary suggested a ‘Group of ministers’ be formed along the lines of the required ‘Special Commission‘.
Remarkably, one detail in step two has been announced as an initiative of the Madhya Pradesh government in the last few days: ‘construction of an appropriate memorial‘ has already been allocated R10 crore and a plan is being prepared by the Housing and Environment department.
Dow demands a memorial in 2005 – in 2007 the MP government announces a memorial
Meantime, in contrast to the ease with which money has been found to meet the importunate Dow’s desire for a memorial, and as the clearest possible indication of where vested priorities lie, the government has provided only a third of this amount “from its limited resources” for making clean drinking water available for contamination affected communities, a matter that not only the survivors have pressed the urgency of via a Padayatra and several hunger strikes, but also the Supreme Court of India and human rights organisations such as Amnesty International. Therefore, whilst official agencies focus resources upon a hollow pr gesture ordered by Dow, they appear unconcerned that children are disfigured and brain damaged. This development also makes it clear, if there was ever any doubt, that it is not only central government acting in hock to Dow’s wider interests.
What appeared to be shameful connivance – the conspiracy between the Indian government and Dow to ensure Dow’s investments enter India – is thus revealed as something far more rotten: a total abdication of sovereignty over precise details of Indian national and state policy matters to US business interests.