IndiaPress.Org, Bhopal, January 3, 2007
* appeal to people to boycott Tata products
* ask Ratan Tata to apologise
Four NGOs working for the survivors of Bhopal gas tragedy have opposed Tata group chairman, Ratan Tata’s offer to take the initiative in cleaning up the chemical waste around the Union Carbide’s pesticide plant, from where toxic gas had leaked in 1984, saying that the responsibility for cleaning lies with Dow Chemicals, with which Carbide was merged.
They blamed the industrialist for causing damage to the people and environment by facilitating expansion of American multinational, Dow Chemical in the country. The leaders of survivors’ organisations even garlanded a poster of Ratan Tata with shoes and appealed to the people to boycott Tata salt as a mark of protest and launch a national boycott campaign.
“Dow Chemicals could not escape from its moral responsibility”, said the leaders of the NGOs. Bhopal Group for Information and Action leader, Satinath Sarangi, while talking to mediapersons on Wednesday, alleged Tata, as co-chairman of Indo-US CEO forum, was attempting to protect the interests of Dow Chemicals which is keen to invest in India. He suggested that Tata should first clean up the waste around his facilities across the country. Sarangi appealed the people to boycott Tata products.
In response to Dow Chemicals offer to invest in India, Tata wrote to Planning Commission Deputy Chairman MS Ahluwalia in November last year volunteering to clean up chemical waste near Bhopal plant, from where several tonnes of toxic gas leaked causing death to several thousand people.
Sarangi even alleged that Ratan Tata has been following footsteps of his ancestors and serving imperialist interests in his role as the Co-Chairman of the US-India CEO forum. He also condemned the head of the Tata family, JRD Tata who had criticised arrest of Warren Anderson after the Bhopal Gas Tragedy and asked Ratan Tata to apologise to the people of Bhopal for this treachery by his family.