The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has appreciated the Indian Olympic Association’s (IOA) concern for the victims of 1984 Bhopal Tragedy but maintains that games sponsors Dow Chemicals had no ownership stakes in Union Carbide till 2000.
IOC also said its relationship with Dow Chemicals was well over 30 years and “we were aware of the Bhopal tragedy when discussing the partnership with Dow”.
The Indian Olympic arm has repeatedly expressed its opposition to the Dow Chemicals as one of the sponsors for the London Olympics,because of its ownership of the infamous Union Carbide which was responsible for the worst industrial disaster in India.
IOA had urged the IOC and London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) to withdraw Dow as Games Sponsors.
In a letter to IOA acting President Vijay Kumar Malhotra,IOC chief Jacques Rogge has said “IOC recognises the Bhopal tragedy in 1984 was a horrific event for India and the world. The Olympic Movement sympathizes with the grief of the victims’ families and regrets the ongoing suffering people face in the region.”
“The IOC and LOCOG were aware of the Bhopal tragedy when discussing the partnership with Dow. Dow had no connection with the Bhopal tragedy. Dow did not have any ownership stake in Union Carbide until 16 years after the accident and 12 years after the USD 470 million compensation agreement was approved by the Indian Supreme Court,” he said.
“The court has upheld this agreement twice since then,in 1991 and 2007. We understand that this is being reviewed yet a third time by the India Supreme Court and we are aware of Dow’s position in this mater,and of the sensitivities of all parties.”