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Indian Government protecting US corporate interests by not going after Union Carbide, Dow Chemicals

30 October 2010

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ToxicsWatch

PRESS RELEASE

US-India CEO Forum Subverting Legal Process against Culprits of Bhopal Disaster

Government’s Stance on Pursuing Industrial Disaster Case in US courts Contrary to Assurance given to Parliament

Law Minister & Attorney General Protecting Union Carbide, Dow Chemicals in US interest

Parliamentary Standing Committee on Government Assurances Urged to Examine Govt’s Assurance

New Delhi/29/10/1010: In a condemnable move, Union Law Minister and Attorney General have betrayed the supreme national interest of Indians to protect US corporate interests especially to pander to the desire of the visiting USA’s President, Barack Obama. This is in furtherance of the communication dated July 30, 2010 from Mike Froman, the US Deputy National Security Advisor to Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairperson, Planning Commission and July 18, 2005 agreement between the Indian Prime Minister and the US President that led to the formation of the US-India CEO Forum, comprising selected CEOs from both countries signed by Ratan Tata and Willian Harrison, co-chairs of the Forum. US double standard in the handling of BP’s oil spill disaster and Union Carbide Corporation’s disaster in India is quite manifest.

The (attached) document titled “US – India Strategic Economic Partnership” reads as follows: “Set Up a Dispute Settlement Mechanism - Specific focus on resolving legacy issues such as those impacting Dow/ Bhopal tragedy of 1984 … would send a strong positive signal to US investors.” And it recommends a Task Force on Judicial Reform “comprising representatives from Law Ministry, GoI, Supreme Court and CEO Forum members.” This document is available on Planning Commission’s website.

It is high time the proceedings and action of US-India CEO Forum are brought under parliamentary scrutiny because the Forum is interfering even with the due process of law in the matter of making Union Carbide Corporation and Dow Chemicals Company accountable to provide legal remedy to the victims of world’s worst industrial disaster.

It is quite apparent that the Union Law Minister and Attorney General are responding to the threats from likes of Mike Froman, the US Deputy National Security Advisor who had in an e-mail to Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Deputy Chairperson, Planning Commission had written "We are hearing a lot of noise about the Dow Chemical issues. I am not familiar with all the details but I think we want to avoid development which put a chilling effect on our investment relationship" although the matter is sub judice both in the Bhopal court as well as in the US court.

Such a stance of the Law Minister is contrary to the assurance given to the Parliament by P Chidambram, the Union Home Minister who heads the Group of Ministers on Bhopal Disaster saying, "we will certainly hold that company or those companies liable for remediation and whatever we had done by way of remediation before the liabilities are crystallised we will ask for restitution. We are not not allowing anyone to go scot-free". The Parliamentary Committee on Government Assurances must make these ministers comply with the assurance given to the parliament.

This Parliamentary Committee consists of 15 members. While replying to questions in the House or during discussions on Bills, Resolutions, Motions etc., Ministers at times give assurances or undertakings either to consider a matter or to take action or to furnish the House further information later. The functions of this Committee are to scrutinize the assurances, promises, undertakings etc. given by Ministers from time to time and to report to Lok Sabha on the extent to which such assurances etc. have been implemented and to see whether such implementation has taken place within the minimum time necessary for the purpose. ToxicsWatch Alliance has written to the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Government Assurances to examine the government’s assurance in the matter of Bhopal’s industrial disaster. (Letter Attached)

US President must be persuaded to help Government of India act in ways more stringent than the way he acted against the British Petroleum (BP) in the matter of Oil Spill disaster.

It is an open secret that under the influence of Dow Chemicals, US administration has linked investment relations with the liability of the company. Indian Parliament must act and support our government which is under tremendous pressure from the US Corporation and the US government.

For Details: Gopal Krishna, ToxicsWatch Alliance, Mb: 09818089660, 07739308480,

E-mail krishna2777@gmail.com, Blog: toxicswatch.blogspot.com,

Website: www.toxicswatch.com

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