A January 1, 2007 article published in The Indian Express, announced that, “Tata group chairman Ratan Tata has volunteered his services to the UPA government for “remediation” of the Bhopal gas tragedy site to pave the way for Dow Chemicals, now the majority stakeholder of Union Carbide Ltd, to invest in India.” In a letter [...]
Archive for January, 2007
Following the first set of protests by the gas-affected community against Tata’s proposed initiative, a Tata Group Spokesperson insisted that there seemed to be some misunderstanding. The spokesperson explained that they thought a fund should be established, “… to bring like-minded corporates to contribute …”, and insisted that such a fund would be “… independent [...]
Ratan Tata’s offer follows directly from a recommendation made at the US – India Economic Partnership CEO forum in March 2006, which he co-chaired along with the American CEO of JP Morgan Chase, William B. Harrison Jr. Recommendation V to encourage trade and investment names the need to set up a “dispute settlement mechanism” for [...]
Tata FAQ #4: What harm would it do if Tata’s proposal were to be accepted? At least the site would be cleaned up, wouldn’t it?
The Tata’s proposal shifts the burden of remediation from that of a legal liability shouldered by the polluting company, to charitable donations by benevolent corporations. This precedence for dealing with industrial disasters creates a far more attractive climate in India for American Investment. Under the rubric of “corporate responsibility”, rather than corporate liability, Multinational corporations [...]
Dow Chemical claims that because they only purchased Union Carbide Ltd. after the disaster, they are not legally liable to clean up the contamination caused by the now abandoned Union Carbide Factory. In August 2004, Dow made a submission to the court in which they state that “the said merger… did not disturb the status [...]
Tata FAQ #6: What precedent would be set if Tata were to take responsibility for organizing the clean-up?
Were Tata to take responsibility for organizing the clean-up via voluntary corporate contributions to a designated fund, a precedent would be set whereby the environmental health of a community becomes the responsibility of optional charity work, rather than a legal right to be protected against unsafe practices of multi-national corporations. By allowing liability to be [...]
Tata FAQ #7: What are the environmental health risks in Bhopal related to the abandoned Union Carbide Factory?
The corporation has been well aware of the environmental health effects on and around the Union Carbide plant for almost 20 years. A 1989 Union Carbide internal correspondence document demonstrates that the corporation had conclusive proof with regard to the poisoning of ground water within the factory premises. The report states that during tests to [...]
Tata FAQ #8: Isn’t it dangerous for people to continue living in the communities affected by ground water contamination?
Indeed it is a dangerous place to live on and if there were options people would have moved out particularly after finding out about the chemicals and their effects. Majority of the residents of these communities are among the poorest in the city and have settled in these communities because they could not afford to [...]
Tata FAQ #9: Why are survivors of the Gas Disaster, residents of communities affected by contamination, and the organizations that support them opposed to Tata’s proposal?
The survivors’ movements and the NGO’s that support them are extremely concerned with cleaning up the contaminated water supply. Last year survivors marched the 800 kilometers to Delhi, which took 33 days and then went on hunger strike in an appeal to the Indian Government; their principal demands included supply of safe water and clean [...]
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 [...]