The Dow Controversy!
The Dow Chemical Company is a multinational corporation of United States. It is the second largest chemical manufacturer of the world going by revenue turnover. The official partner of the 2012 London Olympics finds itself in a big controversy due its link to Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) which was held responsible for the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.
In the night of December 3rd 1984 world’s worst industrial catastrophe hit the city of Bhopal in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh. A leak of methyl isocyanine and other chemical gases occurred from the pesticide plant of Union Carbide India Ltd (UCIL) and ravaged the city for days after resulting in a massive loss of human lives. Estimates vary on the actual casualties. Official sources put the immediate toll at more than 3000 due to gas-related problems and the figure continued to increase to 15000 over the years. The number of injured has been put at about half a million so far.
The Union Carbide plant was held responsible for its alleged negligence and the legal battles involving the Indian Government, the US and UCIL raged over the years for adequate compensation for the gas leak victims. Though an out-of-court settlement was reached in 1989 with the company numerous court cases kept on pending. In 2010 the then CEO of UCIL Warren Anderson and seven former officials were convicted and sentenced to two years of imprisonment each by a New York court. But they were released on bail and the Bhopal victims clamored to repatriate Anderson to India.
The Bhopal gas victims continue to suffer even after 27 years and so they just cannot accept the Dow Company sponsoring the Olympic Games-2012 where India would be a major participant. The all important link was that the Dow Company purchased UCC in 2001. The London Olympic organizers had come under tremendous pressure from India for the Dow link and in their own country too for other reasons.Continued on the next page