Tag Archives: Government of India

Bhopal gas survivor orgs condemn central & state govt for deliberate neglect of Bhopal victims & collusion with US corporations

Press Conference
December 1, 2017

On the occasion of the 33rd Anniversary of the Bhopal gas disaster, leaders of five organisations of the survivors today condemned the central and state governments for deliberate neglect of the victims of the disaster and collusion with the US corporations responsible for the disaster. The organisations charged the central government of violation of the survivors’ constitutional rights to proper health care. They denounced Madhya Pradesh government’s role in the ‘Run Bhopal Run’ event with music and dance on the day of the Anniversary.

Continue reading Bhopal gas survivor orgs condemn central & state govt for deliberate neglect of Bhopal victims & collusion with US corporations

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Survivors’ Letter to Prime Minister Re: Petition for Additional Compensation

August 1, 2014

Honourable Prime Minister,

Government of India, North Block, Raisina Hill,
New Delhi 110 011

Subject: Urgent Directions for Filing of Application for Amending Civil Curative Petition No 345-347/2010 for Additional Compensation before Supreme Court on August 5, 2014.

Dear Sir,  

On behalf of the survivors of the December 1984 Union Carbide gas disaster in Bhopal we wish to draw your urgent attention to the hearing of the Curative Petition filed by the Government of India on December 3, 2010 that is scheduled to be heard on August 5, 2014.

For the last several years we have attempted to apprise the Prime Minister’s office that the figures of exposure related deaths and injuries in the Curative Petition filed by the Government of India are wrong and without any basis.

The government’s curative petition mentions a figure of 5,295 deaths caused by the disaster, which happens to be one fourth of the figures of death reported by Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) in its epidemiological report published in 2004. Likewise, the petition mentions that 93 % of the victims were only temporarily injured which is against the findings of the ICMR.

You can stop a great injustice being done to the Bhopal victims by issuing directions for filing an application before the Supreme Court on August 5, 2014 for amendment of the Curative Petition. Figures based on ICMR’s scientific research can then be incorporated in the amended Curative Petition.

We request you to issue directions to concerned officials in the Ministry of Chemical & Fertilizers for filing an application before the Supreme Court for amendment of the Curative Petition on August 5, 2014.

 

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Wikileaks: “Bhopal Gas Tragedy NGOs reveal Wikileaks’ cables on Dow Chemicals; Allege Indian Govt. kowtowed to US pressure”

Original link: http://www.wikileaks-forum.com/bhopal/626/bhopal-gas-tragedy-ngos-reveal-wikileaks-cables-on-dow-chemicals/18740/

Bhopal Gas Tragedy NGOs reveal Wikileaks’ cables on Dow Chemicals; Allege Indian Govt. kowtowed to US pressure

Submitted by admin4 on 17 April 2013 – 11:01pm

By Pervez Bari, TwoCircles.net

Bhopal: Representatives of five NGOs (non-government organisations) working for the welfare of the survivors of 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, the world’s worst industrial catastrophe, have accused the Government of India of kowtowing to US Government pressure to serve the interests of Union Carbide and Dow Chemical in Bhopal.

Addressing a press conference here on Wednesday the representatives of the NGOs while citing recently released documents from Wikileaks’ “Kissinger Cables” said former Commerce Minister Kamal Nath and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia welcomed Dow investments in India and contradicted the Government of India’s stated position on Dow’s liabilities in India.

Representatives of five NGOs working for the welfare of the survivors of 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy addressing Press Conference.

A cable sent by Deputy Chief of Mission in New Delhi Steven J White on July 27, 2007 says: “During the CEO forum event in October 2006, GOI officials including Commerce Minister Kamal Nath and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia stated that they welcomed further Dow investment in India and did not believe that Dow was responsible for the disaster site clean-up.”

The US Ambassador David Mulford is reported to be urging the Government of India to “drop its claims against Dow” in a cable sent on September 18, 2007. In reply Ahluwalia assures the Ambassador that the Government of India does not hold Dow responsible for the clean-up but is unable to withdraw its claims against Dow because of “active and vocal” NGOs. According to the cable Ahluwalia then advised the Ambassador to discuss the issue of Dow Chemical’s Bhopal liabilities with Finance Minister Chidambaram.

The Bhopal organisations said the available cables indicate that the Government of India has consistently short-changed Indians and Bhopalis and served the interests of Union Carbide Corporation. As early as in the 1970s, the Government of India compromised on principles related to foreign exchange to help Union Carbide retain majority control over Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL).

The organizations stated that a cable sent by Deputy Chief of Mission David T. Schneider from the US Embassy in New Delhi on February 4, 1975 shows that the Government of India allowed Union Carbide, USA to bypass the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act and obtain loans from American Exim Bank instead of an Indian financing agency. Another cable of September 11, 1975 from US Secretary of State Henry Kissinger to the US Embassy in India shows the support the US government gave to Union Carbide, USA in securing loans from the US Exim Bank for its Bhopal operations.

The organizations presented copy of a cable sent by the then US Ambassador in India William Saxbe on April 20, 1976 that expresses satisfaction at the dilution of FERA guidelines so that Union Carbide can continue to hold majority stakes in its Indian subsidiary.

The representatives of five organizations – Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogi Sangharsh Morcha, Children against Dow/Carbide and Bhopal Group for Information & Action stated that the Wikileaks documents highlight the historical roots of the continuing injustice in the case of the world’s worst industrial disaster in Bhopal. They said that the injustice in Bhopal is being perpetuated by the support of the US and Indian government to Union Carbide and Dow Chemical as well as that by traitors such as Kamal Nath, Chidambaram and Ahluwalia.

It may be recalled here that on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984 Union Carbide pesticide manufacturing factory had spewed poisonous Methyl Iso-cyanate gas whereby 3000 people had perished virtually instantly and over the years more than 25000 have kissed death and the sad saga is still continuing uninterruptedly. About half a million are suffering from the side effects of the poisonous gas and several thousand people have been maimed for life.



A cartoon on display of Uncle Sam controlling Indian high profile leaders and officials at the venue of Press Conference.

Meanwhile, the details of the extracts from Wikileaks are as follows:-

EXTRACTS FROM WIKILEAKS

Date: February 4 1975
Sub: Union Carbide Application for Exim Loans
From: US Embassy, New Delhi, India
To: Department of State, United States of America
URL: https://www.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1975NEWDE01606_b.html
Extract: AS SEEN FROM THE GOI POINT OF VIEW THE ISSUE IS ONE OF PRINCIPLE AND IT HAS ALREADY AGREED TO COMPROMISES NOT USUALLY AVAIL- ABLE TO INDIAN BORROWERS

Date: SEPTEMBER 25 1975
Sub: Indo-US Relations: Atmospherics: Positive Vibrations
From: US Embassy, New Delhi, India
To: Department of State, United States of America
URL: https://www.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1975NEWDE12918_b.html
Extract: We are trying to take advantage of the opening provided by Kaul’s interest in solving economic problems by asking for finance action to resolve a large variety of problems such as the fertilizer arbitration case, remittance delays, Pan Am and TWA problems and pending investment proposals such as Union Carbide and national starch as well as an easing of the more onerous FERA guidelines. (as this cable was being prepared union carbide telephoned to say that its proposal had been suddenly approved after 6 months of waiting.) we hope to get more results. The “success stories” so far relate to GOI movement on the north Vietnam problem, a noticeable easing of “fly Indian” restrictions on Indians travelling on USG programs and union carbide.

Date: JANUARY 5, 1976
Sub: Press Release on EXIMBANK Credit to India
From: Department of State, United States of America India
To: US Embassy, New Delhi
URL: https://www.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1976STATE001679_b.html
Extract: The Export-Import Bank of the United States has authorized a direct credit of dol1,260,000 to Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL), to support a dol2.8 million sale of US equipment and services required for the construction of a plant to produce insecticides and other agricultural chemicals. The plant will be built at Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, for the production of methyl-isocyanate based pesticides. us purchases will include reactors, distillation towers, heat unclassified un-classified page 02 state 001679 exchangers, centrifuges, filters, dryers, valves, control instrumentation, safety equipment. us suppliers will include Vulcan manufacturing company of Cincinnati, Ohio, and Gould pumps inc., of Seneca fall, New York, among others.

Date: APRIL 20 1976
Sub: Foreign Exchange Regulation Act (FERA) Guidelines amended
From: US Embassy, New Delhi, India
To: Department of State, United States of America
URL: https://www.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/1976NEWDE05722_b.html
Extract: the earlier guidelines had created problems for the goi in dealing with the cases of multi-product companies such as union carbide, phillips of the netherlands, imperial chemical industries and other whose contribution to indian industrial development and exports was vital but who could not match the strict criteria under the old guidelines and, at the same time, were unwilling to come down to a 40 percent foreign equity position. foreign capital is now assured of a reasonable chance to retain majority holding and management control for investment in india under conditions which, most foreign businessmen feel, are not unduly restrictive

Date: JULY 27, 2007
Sub: New Delhi Weekly ECON Office Highlights
From: US Embassy, New Delhi, India
To: Department of Agriculture, Department of Energy, Department of State, Department of Transportation, Department of the Treasury, Federal Aviation Administration, India Chennai, India Kolkata, India Mumbai
URL: https://www.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/07NEWDELHI3429_a.html
Extract: During the CEO Forum event in October 2006, GOI officials including Commerce Minister Nath and Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Montek Singh Ahluwalia stated that they welcomed further Dow investment in India and did not believe that Dow was responsible for the disaster site clean-up.

Date: SEPTEMBER 18, 2007:
Sub: Ambassador Discusses CEO Forum Issues with Planning Commission Deputy Chairman Ahluwalia
From: US Embassy, New Delhi, India
To: Department of Commerce | Department of Energy | Department of State | Department of the Treasury | India Chennai | India Kolkata | India Mumbai
URL: https://www.wikileaks.org/plusd/cables/07NEWDELHI4272_a.html
Extract: The Ambassador also cited the GOI’s continued third party claims against Dow Chemical in the ongoing Bhopal land reclamation lawsuit as a further impediment by Dow and others to invest in India, and he asked that the GOI drop its claims against Dow. Ahluwalia took the Ambassador’s points on McDermott, noting the importance of finally putting the issue to rest. On Dow, he said that the GOI does not understand Dow’s concern about future civil or criminal liability since the GOI third-party claims do not suggest a GOI presumption that Dow is responsible for the cleanup.
The GOI’s problem is that the NGOs are very active and vocal in this case, and it is very difficult for the Government to now drop its claims against Dow. The GOI was hoping for a quick resolution of the case which would have settled the issue, but Dow prevented this by asking for a stay in the proceedings. Ahluwalia noted that the issue of whether a company like Dow can be held liable for the actions of another company solely on the basis of acquiring that company after the culpable activity occurred is an important and novel legal issue in India that needs to be resolved. Ahluwalia recommended that the Ambassador discuss the issue with Finance Minister Chidambaram – a noted jurist. (pervezbari@eth.net)

http://twocircles.net/2013apr17/bhopal_gas_tragedy_ngos_reveal_wikileaks_cables_dow_chemicals_allege_indian_govt_kowtowed_

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Gas Victims given substandard drugs from last 27 years

Corruption Kills: Bhopal Gas Victims Demand Strong Jan Lokpal Bill

Press Statement 8-August-2011

At a press conference today, five organizations working with survivors of the 1984 Union Carbide disaster announced their action plans as part of the “India Against Corruption” campaign.  They will be holding a demonstration at the Union Carbide factory tomorrow at noon to condemn the anti corruption bill proposed by the central government. Survivors from Bhopal will be joining the actions led by Anna Hazare and solidarity actions in Bhopal from August 16.

 

Survivors of the Bhopal disaster said that a strong Jan Lokpal Bill is required to deal with corruption at all levels in the central and state governments and the judiciary. They said that corruption has been, and continues to be a significant reason in the denial of proper medical care, rehabilitation and fair compensation.

 

Rashida Bee, president of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh said   “For the last 27 years we, Bhopalis, have been victims of corruption by Prime Ministers, Chief Ministers, Ministers in the state and central governments, Judges in the Supreme Courts and Claim tribunals, bureaucrats of all ranks and other employees, government scientists and doctors, and its time to start putting an end to it in right earnest.”

Balkrishna Namdeo, president of Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha said that in the last 27 years, crores of rupees from the public exchequer have been misappropriated every year in the medical care and rehabilitation of the Bhopal gas victims. He pointed out that a former Minister of Gas relief in the state government who had had to resign in the face of corruption charges earlier, has now been rehabilitated in the state cabinet with three portfolios.

 

Rachna Dhingra of Bhopal Group for Information and Action said that in the government system of medical care, corruption in the purchase of medicines for gas victims is most illustrative of the failure of the existing systems to deal with corruption.

 

She said in December 2006 survivors organizations had carried out a citizens’ raid on two drug stores of the gas relief department. Based on the information collected during the raid, in January 2007  a submission was made to the Supreme Court pointing out that more than half of the medicines meant for gas victims were purchased from companies known to produce sub-standard medicines.

 

 

In March 2007, six survivors and supporters went on a 19 day fast and dharna, demanding supply of quality medicines and other improvements in medical care and rehabilitation.  While the survivors on fast are still facing charges for attempted suicide, nothing has been done to improve the quality of the medicines.

 

In September 2007 the organizations complained about the quality of drugs in gas relief hospitals to the Monitoring Committee set up by the Supreme Court. On 27 May 2008, the Monitoring Committee submitted its 7th report pointing out that none of its recommendations, including those about improving quality of medicines,  had been followed by the state government. In its 7th report, the Monitoring Committee asked the Supreme Court to bestow certain powers so that it could ensure that the state government followed its recommendations.

 

In January 2011 the Supreme Court asked the Monitoring Committee to list out the powers that it would like to have to effect improvement in the medical care of the Bhopal victims.

 

 

According to the survivors’ organizations, in March 2011the Monitoring Committee did draw up a list of powers that it would like to have, but due to the machinations of the corrupt bureaucrats and others in the state government, the list remains to be presented before the Supreme Court. Survivors’ organizations charged the Ministry of Bhopal Gas Tragedy with sabotaging the work of the Monitoring Committee so that it could continue with its corrupt ways.

 

Survivors’ organizations said that their recent investigation in to quality of drug supply shows that several Indore based manufactures known to be suppliers of substandard medicines such as Quest Laboratories, Deepin Pharmaceuticals and Zenith Drugs have continued to sell their drugs regularly to the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation Department from 2007 till today.  (Details of companies) They said that this was in clear violation of the Monitoring Committee’s recommendations in its 3rd, 4th and 6th reports to the Supreme Court.

 

 

 

Rashida Bi,Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh

94256 88215

Nawab Khan,Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha

9302792493

Balkrishna Namdeo,Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha

9826345423

Satinath Sarangi, Rachna Dhingra,Bhopal Group for Information and Action

9826167369

Safreen KhanChildren Against Dow Carbide

9303831487

Please visit www.bhopal.net for recent information on the International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal

 

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Government aims to quell public anger rather than help Bhopalis

BHOPAL.NET OPINION. On the face of it, the Group of Ministers’ recommendations seem attractive. 700 crores in “enhanced compensation”, site to be cleaned, Anderson pursued – it sounds good, until you examine the details. Then it becomes clear that these proposals, while seeking to salve the public’s sorely wounded pride, actually do little or nothing for the Bhopalis. Survivors are calling it “another betrayal”.

Confidential Minutes from the Meeting of the Group of Ministers on Bhopal

1. “ENHANCED COMPENSATION”: 93% OF VICTIMS WILL GET NOTHING”

Lachho Bai
Nothing for Laccho Bai, constantly ill since inhaling Union Carbide’s gases, who has lost her reason and her sight.

There are 572,000 officially registered victims of Union Carbide’s gases.
The 700 crore rupees of compensation will be shared among 45,166 people who have lost relatives or suffered certains sorts of injury. (1) More than 525,000 victims are excluded. [pullquote]93% of Union Carbide’s officially registered victims will get nothing but a notional Rs 2/- per head from the insulting June 7 judgement. [/pullquote] Of these many are seriously ill with conditions not covered by the government’s method of claims assessment. See here.

Recipients of the government’s apparent largesse will be chosen on the basis of the flawed system of claims analysis that proved to be inaccurate, unjust, slapdash, bedevilled by bureaucracy, slow, open to abuse, and often corrupt. See this 1991 report by the Bhopal Group for Information and Action. Also On the Question of Whether a Fresh Survey of Bhopal Victims is Required. And Survey of Compensation among residents of Jaiprakash Nagar. Oct 2002.

2. THE EXTRADITION OF WARREN ANDERSON IS A RED HERRING TO PROTECT DOW

Warren Anderson is 91 years old. It is a foregone conclusion that the US administration will refuse an extradition request, so there is no risk in making this promise.

The government could and should be pursuing Union Carbide Corporation and Union Carbide Eastern, accused alongside Warren Anderson, and like him absconding from justice since 1992. But there is no mention of them. The reason is undoubtedly to protect Dow Chemical. [pullquote] UCC still exists as a legal entity wholly owned by Dow, which is not only allowed to do business openly in India but, as recent media reports have shown, to direct government policy making.[/pullquote]

While the extent of Anderson’s direct involvement has been questioned by the US administration, there can be no doubt about the roles of UCC and UCE in directly causing the gas catastrophe.

The ICJB does not oppose attempting to extradite Anderson, but it demands that UCC and UCE should also be pursued on the charge of “culpable homicide”. If found guilty, they would at least be compelled to pay more than two rupees per victim.

3. DOW CHEMICAL LIABILITY FOR CLEAN UP TO BE DETERMINED BY COURT.

Dow claims it had nothing to do with UCIL. But UCIL was majority-owned by Union Carbide Corporation which thus shares the major part of the responsibility for the contamination and failure to clean up. When Dow acquired Union Carbide’s assets, it also acquired its “polluter pays” liabilities.

[pullquote right]If UCC is liable, Dow is liable. This is the opinion of India’s Ministry of Law. But Dow is strongly protected by its lawyer Abhishek Manu Singhvi, who also happens to be Congress Spokesman and part of the Manmohan Singh inner circle. He sees no conflict of interest. Do you?[/pullquote]

Dow has admitted routinely bribing Indian officials to get a banned pesticide certified as safe, yet no action is taken against it. Dow used bribery to gain certification for its pesticide Dursban which is so dangerous to children that it is banned for home use in the US. In India it is sold as safe. The government has not taken any steps either to punish the company for bribing officials, or to take Dursban off the home market.

In the 1990s Dow paid more than $10 million to the family of an infant, Joshua Herb, who had been damaged by Dursban. What will damaged Indian children get?

4. THE CLEAN UP TO BE BASED ON NEERI’S RECOMMENDATIONS. NEERI SAYS THERE IS NO GROUNDWATER CONTAMINATION OUTSIDE THE FACTORY SITE

deadgoat-600.jpg
No words are needed to disprove the claim that water contamination is confined to the factory site. This poisoned goat, floating in a ‘solar evaporation pond’ near the Garib Nagar basti half a kilometer outside the factory, says it all.

NEEERI’s statement is at odds with numerous reports from Greenpeace and other organisations, including two published last December. [pullquote]While relying on discredited, incompetent NEERI the UPA-II government is ignoring an offer from the EU Parliament to fund a thorough and impartial study of the nature and extent of contamination to the highest scientific standards.[/pullquote]NEERI (National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, Nagpur) is a discredited organisation whose slipshod methods and careless conclusions during a 1990s survey of the contamination were severely criticised by US consultancy Arthur D Little which had ironically been retained by Union Carbide Corporation in Danbury to advise Union Carbide India Limited.

For details please see The farce that was and is NEERI.

Carbide executives privately ridiculed NEERI’s work while recognising that it was the pet of the MPPCB (Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board) which was opposed to the involvement of ADL. [pullquote right]The rate of birth defects in places where the water is contaminated is running at 10 times that of the rest of India.[/pullquote]No surprise then, when in 2001 MPPCB chairman V K Jain was exposed as having amassed money and jewellery worth 15 crores of rupees by corrupt methods. The entire MPPCB board was dissolved.

The human impact of the poisoned water can be seen just by walking through the affected areas. NEERI: Briefing notes for journalists.

5. NEERI RECOMMEND BURYING TOXIC WASTE INSIDE THE FACTORY

The proposal to bury the waste on the site itself under NEERI’s direction is the final folly. It will not be done to a proper standard and the groundwater pollution will be exacerbated instead of contained. [pullquote]Says US attorney Raj Sharma, “NEERI was responsible for the creation of the leaking landfill in the solar evaporation ponds. They rubber stamped everything that UCC proposed. This plan will be a disaster in its own right if effectuated.[/pullquote]

THE GoM HAS IGNORED THE SURVIVORS’ DEMAND FOR AN EMPOWERED COMMISSION. MONEY TO BE GIVEN TO STATE GOVERNMENT

The Group of Ministers is thus reneging on a promise its immediate predecessor made to the survivors two years ago. The GoM minutes reveal no mention of a reliable mechanism to deliver social, economic, medical rehabilitation for gas survivors and their children. Nor does it make any proposals for the relief of those whose lives have been blighted by the poisoned water. The families of the children born damaged will get no compensation, no help of any kind.

While ignoring the promise made earlier to the survivors the confidential minutes of the GoM meeting reveal that it proposes to hand a huge wad of cash, some 700 crores of rupees to the MP state government. Cynics will note that years after hundreds of crores were poured by the Centre into State coffers for the creation of jobs for gas survivors, not a single job has been created, not a single person has been employed.

No doubt tailors in Bhopal and elsewhere are busily deepening and strengthening pockets.

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