Survivors reject Tata attempts to muddy water over liability for Bhopal clean up

Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
Bhopal Group for Information and Action
Bhopal ki Aawaaz

January 3, 2007
Press Statement
Addressing a press conference today leaders of four organizations of survivors of the December 1984 Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal strongly condemned Chairman Tata Group Ratan Tata’s offer to clear the path for Dow-Union Carbide’s investments in India by leading an effort to pay for and clean up Union Carbide’s toxic waste in Bhopal.
Displaying a poster of Ratan Tata with a garland of shoes around his neck they called the industrialist an anti-national element who was causing damage to the people and environment by facilitating the expansion of American multinational Dow Chemical in this country. The leaders appealed to Bhopal survivors to boycott Tata’s salt as a mark of protest, and have launched a national boycott campaign.
The leaders emphasized that Dow Chemical took over the environmental liabilities of Bhopal when it became the 100 % owner of Union Carbide in 2001. They said that according to the “polluter pays principle” which is valid both in USA and India Dow/Union Carbide must pay for the clean up in Bhopal.
According to the leaders, the Tata family had helped the East India Company in smuggling opium to China, had functioned as the commissariat for the invasion of Ethiopia by the British army and had named its textile factory in Nagpur “Empress Mills” in honour of Queen Victoria. The Bhopal leaders see Ratan Tata following the footsteps of his ancestors in the Tata family and serving imperialist interests in his role as the Co-Chairman of the US India CEO Forum.
The survivors’ leaders stated that the head of the Tata family, JRD Tata had condemned the arrest of Warren Anderson, Chairman of Union Carbide in 1984 and demanded that Ratan Tata apologize to the people of Bhopal for this treachery by the Tata family.
Pointing out the links between Tata and Union Carbide, the leaders stated that Keshub Mahindra who is accused as Chairman of the Indian subsidiary of Union Carbide was also the Director of several Tata companies in 1984. David Good, former Director of the South Asian Bureau in the State Department of the US government and the official who denied Anderson’s extradition to India is now Head of the Tata Corporate office in USA.
The leaders described the environmental destruction wrought by Tatas in different parts of the country. They pointed out that the Comptroller and Auditor General of India had singled out Tata’s Chromite mines in Sukhinda, Orissa for causing widespread pollution and health damage. Similarly the Supreme Court appointed Monitoring Committee on Hazardous Wastes has passed strong comments against waste disposal by Rallis – a Tata company in Patancheru near Hyderabad.
In Mithapur Gujarat, Tata’s factories have contaminated ground water and destroyed agriculture in villages such as Arambada, Bheemrana, Lalapur, Surajkaradi and Padli. In Jamshedpur, where Tata’s run a steel plant, thousands of tonnes of boiler ash containing lethal heavy metals are dumped in the middle of the city at Jugsalai. Tata’s collieries at West Bokaro in Jharkhand are responsible for the irreparable damage caused to the Bokaro river.
In the Gulf of Kutch, Tata Chemicals is currently facing two cases in the Supreme Court of India for open drainage and pipe line through a reserve forest and a sanctuary. The leaders asked Ratan Tata to first clean his own backyard before attempting to clean up Bhopal.
Rashida Bi, Champa Devi Shukla
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh
93031 32959
Syed M Irfan,
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha
93290 26319
Shahid Noor
Bhopal ki Aawaaz
98261 82226
Rachna Dhingra, Satinath Sarangi,
Bhopal Group for Information and Action
98261 67369
Contact : House No. 60, Near Cold Storage, Union Carbide Road, Chhola, Bhopal
Please visit www.bhopal.net for more information on the campaign for justice in Bhopal

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