Tata has waited 22 years before making this “public spirited” offer. Over the course of the past two decades the only response to the disaster from the Tata family was condemnation of Anderson’s arrest in 1984. Now, the very official who denied Anderson’s extradition from the US to stand trial in India, David Goodman, is the head of Tata Corporate Office in the US.
Tata has a long history of collaborating with foreign investors, often in ways that sacrifice the well being of Indian communities. The Tata family had helped the East India Company in smuggling opium to China, has 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.
Tata has yet to answer for the environmental destruction wrought by their activities in different parts of the country. The Comptroller and Auditor General of India has 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. That Tata companies have shown such disregard for environmental destruction and community hardship caused by their activities is cause for great alarm and casts a strong shadow of doubt as to Tata’s intentions in Bhopal. The leaders ask Ratan Tata to first clean his own backyard before attempting to clean up Bhopal.