Obama, do not practice double standards on corporate accountability
Hundreds of survivors the Bhopal gas disaster and people exposed to contaminated groundwater will travel to New Delhi to demand that US President Obama should take action against the US Corporations Dow Chemical and Union Carbide for their continuing crimes in Bhopal, according to five Bhopal organisations active in campaigning for justice in Bhopal.
President Obama will carry a crowded slate of high-profile issues on his trip to India next week, from opening new export markets to deepening counterterrorism ties. But the toxic legacy of the 1984 Bhopal gas leak will remain simmering in the background, as the disaster remains an open wound for many Indians.
Frustration over Bhopal, where a cloud of methyl isocyanate gas killed an estimated 15,000 people and left thousands more ailing, flared anew in June after a court gave two-year prison sentences to Indian employees of the pesticide plant that spewed the chemicals. That struck many in India as too lenient, particularly given that a subsidiary of a U.S. company owned the lethal plant and that the White House had leaned on BP PLC to set aside $20 billion for those affected by its Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Andrew David Simpson treks across India for Bhopal
The activist embarks on a 1,500 mile journey by foot in support of the Sambhavna Clinic in Bhopal, a clinic mostly run by survivors that provides free care to those affected by the 1984 gas disaster.
Beginning November 1, Andrew (also known as "Bones) will walk from Jaisalmer (Rajasthan) to Puni (Orrisa). He writes:
"I walk because I believe it is the most intimate way to interact with and explore a new environment. You see things and meet people that you never would if traveling by train, bus, car, or even bicycle. When you use transportation besides your feet, the world runs on your schedule. When you walk, you are forced to abide by the schedule of the world. You don't choose where you sleep, who you will meet, or the obstacles you will encounter. And rest assured you will encounter many, but this is at the center of what makes walking, especially long walks, so rewarding and fulfilling. Unpredictability is the heart of true adventure.
Participation and Enthusiasm Mark the 6th Annual Bhopal Conference at MIT
Cambridge, Massachusetts—The International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal (ICJB) hosted its 6th Annual North American Conference this past weekend to discuss ongoing health and environmental issues in Bhopal, India. To this day acute and chronic toxic contamination from the disaster has left 25,000 dead, and over 500,000 affected.Dow Chemical Corporation (Midland, MI), who acquired Union Carbide in 2001, refuses to clean up the abandoned pesticide plant that has caused a growing environmental and public health crisis.
About 30 concerned activists from throughout the U.S., and a couple from Europe, met on MIT’s campus to learn about the Bhopal disaster from field experts.Attendees now aim to mobilize their own community members on the human rights issue.
The Rs 400-crore controversial research and development centre proposed by one of the largest chemical makers in the US, Dow Chemical Co, will be shifted out from its current location in Chakan near Pune. The company wrote to the Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC) this month seeking permission to surrender the 100 acres at the proposed site at Vasuli-Shinde village in Chakan.
“Dow Chemical Co wrote to MIDC asking to surrender the land at Chakan for their proposed R & D centre. They will be shifted to an alternative site in the state. We have still not zeroed in on the site,’’ said Principal Secretary (Industries) A.M. Khan.
The company had signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the state in 2007 to develop the global centre that was to house 500 scientists doing research in personal care, building material, plastic chemicals and water, in addition to basic research in chemistry and chemical engineering.