Indian papers and news channels are once again buzzing with reports about Dow Chemical and Bhopal. This time it is about the law ministry’s view on whether the company should clean up the Bhopal site.
The law ministry’s comments on a note to the Prime Minister’s office were obtained by activists who have for long been asking the government to hold Dow responsible for the site after its acquisition of Union Carbide.
According to one report, the law ministry has stated that irrespective of the manner in which Union Carbide has merged or has been acquired by Dow, if there is any legal liability it would have to be borne by Dow.
A second report adds that the law ministry can decide on the extent of Dow’s liability only after checking on the details of the Dow-Carbide deal to see if the transaction had specifically excluded liabilities arising out the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.
A copy of the note is available on the Bhopal.net website.
Some 50 victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy are currently in Delhi attempting to draw government attention to their problems.
The Bhopal issue has continuously hampered Dow’s expansion plans for India (see previous posts). And it obviously raises questions on the company’s investment plans for the country, estimated by one newspaper at $1bn.