Bhopal gas victims urge Dow Chemicals to pay up for Carbide liabilities

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New Delhi, May 12 : Victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy on Monday urged US-based Dow Chemicals, to pay up for the liabilities of Union Carbide which it has acquired.

Satinath Sarangi, member of the Bhopal Group for Information and Action addressing a press conference in New Delhi today said: "The Ministry of Chemicals has filed a petition in the Madhya Pradesh High Court in May 2005. According to the petition Dow Chemicals was asked to give Rs 100 crore as indemnity for environmental loss, as under the pollutant pays principle we are fighting for this since 2001 when Dow Chemicals merged with Union Carbide."

Victims said that they will bring the Law Ministry's opinion to the notice of Dow shareholders at the company's Annual General Meeting at Midland, Michigan on May 15, 2008.

The victims of the Bhopal Gas tragedy welcomed the stance of the Law Ministry, which holds that the Dow Chemicals should be responsible for the liabilities of Union Carbide.

Survivors of the tragedy also demand that the Dow Chemicals should not be allowed to be involved in any industrial project.

More than 3,500 people died in the days and weeks after toxic fumes spewed out of a pesticide plan in Bhopal on the night of December 2, 1984.

Officials say nearly 15,000 people have died since from cancer and other diseases.

The victims have been demanding action against companies like Dow Chemicals that now owns Union Carbide responsible for the world's worst industrial disaster and the pathetic condition of victims, several of them maimed and diseased for life and their progeny also suffering from incurable ailments.

The company also paid 470 million dollars to the Indian government in 1989 in a settlement reached after a protracted legal battle. The victims, on an average, received 25,000 rupees in case of illness and 100,000 rupees or so in case of a death in the family.

Michigan-based Dow Chemical says it is not responsible for the clean-up as it never owned or operated the plant. The Madhya Pradesh state government now owns the abandoned plant.

ANI

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