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US Congressman asks Dow Chemicals to clean up Bhopal Union Carbide factory site

By Pervez Bari, TwoCircles.net,

Bhopal: The languishing survivors of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy, the world’s worst industrial disaster, have something to cheer up as a US Congressman has spoken up for them while taking Dow Chemicals to task.

An agency report from Washington said that an influential US lawmaker has asked the Dow Chemicals to clean up its factory site in Bhopal, the capital of the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh, and fund necessary medical care and research studies to treat the victims of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy.

Frank Pallone, Democratic Congressman from New Jersey, told the US House of Representatives: “Dow should clean up the factory site, which continues to contaminate the local environment and should go beyond simply providing compensation to the victims”.

“Dow should also fund the necessary medical care and research studies necessary to treat victims and offer them the chance to live fruitful lives not plagued by chemical affects,” Pallone said in his speech on the occasion of 25th anniversary of the Bhopal gas tragedy.

“It is simply unbelievable that Union Carbide refused to acknowledge which chemicals and gases were leaked for fear of legal liability. This left doctors to treat patients with no knowledge of how to proceed or what treatment to use,” he said.

Union Carbide’s use of unsafe and untested technologies led to one of the worst chemical disasters in world history. Rather than acknowledge the devastation it created and fully pay for the damages, Union Carbide decided to walk away, Pallone said.

It may be mentioned here that last year, Pallone and 15 other Congressmen wrote to the Indian Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to express support for the people of Bhopal and urged him to personally meet with survivor groups to address the long-standing demands for justice.

It may be recalled here that on the fateful intervening night of December 2/3, 1984 nearly 40 tones of Methyl Isocyanate, (MIC), and other lethal gases spewed out of the Union Carbide Corporation’s, now owned by Dow Chemicals, pesticide plant in Bhopal, exposing over 5,00,000 people to the toxic fumes. While 8000 died within three days of the disaster and 25,000-35,000 people have died since then and hundreds of thousands of persons have been maimed for life.