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UCC,Dow question govt ‘turnaround’ over relief

Union Carbide Corporation and Dow Chemicals issued official statements on Monday saying they were puzzled by the Government of India’s “abrupt turnaround” to challenge a “fair,final and irrevocable settlement” for $470 million arrived at in 1989.

Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) and Dow Chemicals issued official statements on Monday saying they were puzzled by the Government of India’s “abrupt turnaround” to challenge a “fair,final and irrevocable settlement” for $470 million arrived at in 1989.

The statements from Houston and Michigan in the US respectively were issued hours after the Supreme Court took on board the government’s curative petition for over Rs 7,800 crore in enhanced compensation for Bhopal gas tragedy victims.

Both UCC and Dow wondered why the government wanted to re-open the question of compensation when the Welfare Commissioner — the official charged with overseeing compensation for Bhopal victims — had as recently as November 2010 filed an affidavit in the SC urging it against the same. “Nothing has occurred over the past three months to justify a change in the government’s option,” UCC said.

Dow echoed UCC: “What is not understandable is the abrupt turnaround in the GoI’s long-held defence of the fair and final legal agreement that resolved the claims related to the tragedy.”

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The SC has twice in the past,in 1991 and 2007,validated the agreement,and should do it again,Dow said.

The companies also said the re-opening of the 1989 settlement would be a deterrent to future foreign investments in the country. “The government’s action will serve only to undermine the global perception of India as a nation committed to the rule of law and the integrity of legally-binding agreements,” said UCC.

Dow called the UPA government’s challenge an “ill-advised action” which would put at peril the image of India as a nation committed to adhering to accepted legal principles. “Dow never owned,operated or inherited Union Carbide India Limited’s Bhopal site,” it said.

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SC notices on govt plea
Acting on the government’s curative petition for enhanced compensation of over Rs 7,800 crore for victims of Bhopal gas tragedy,the Supreme Court on Monday issued notices to Union Carbide Corporation (UCC),Dow Chemicals and other allied companies. According to the government,the tragedy has now taken “catastrophic proportions”. The five-judge Bench will also hear a second curative plea,filed by the CBI,on a daily basis from April 13 for restoration of the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

First published on: 01-03-2011 at 05:06 IST
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