Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Bhopal gas tragedy survivors protest force Dow Chemical to withdraw from Aquatech trade fair

Bhopal gas tragedy survivors protest force Dow Chemical to withdraw from Aquatech trade fair

Bhopal, March 02 (Pervez Bari): The survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, the world's worst industrial disaster, scored a victory when they forced Dow Chemical, the owner of the Union Carbide, to withdraw from the Aquatech 2011 water technologies trade fair being held in Bombay Exhibition Centre, Mumbai from March 2 to 4. The Union Carbide pesticide factory had spewed deadly poisonous gas in December 1984 killing thousands of people.
According to reports reaching here the Dow Chemical name was struck off the list of partners to the Aquatech 2011 water technologies trade fair after Bhopal survivors held a press conference yesterday and staged a protest today at the venue. Nearly 70 survivors staged a die-in outside the Exhibition Hall inside the Bombay Exhibition Centre, where Dow was listed to have an exhibition stall.
Speaking for the organizers, Commander Dalal of Inter Ads-Brooks Exhibitions reportedly said: "We had a discussion with Dow on this, and Dow is no longer part of this trade fair. They are not here today, and they will not be here tomorrow or the day after." Mr. Dalal also expressed his solidarity with the Bhopal survivors.
Separately, Mr. Kishor Shetty, the manager of Sales and Marketing, at Inter Ads also confirmed over phone that: "The moment we came to know, we dissociated ourselves. Dow Chemical voluntarily withdrew". The event managed by Inter-ads is sponsored by the Union Ministry of Urban Development in collaboration with a number of partners, including Dow Chemical.
Now, Ms. Marta Lopez Garcia of Dow Chemical, Spain, who was listed as a speaker at the Conference tomorrow will not be allowed to speak.
Meanwhile, Bhopal survivors have welcomed the move by the organizers, but have said that they intend to take up the matter with the Union Government.
"We will get to the bottom of the matter about how the Union Ministry of Urban Development has partnered with Dow Chemical to promote the company's water solutions even while Dow is wanted in Bhopal to clean up the soil and groundwater," said Rashida Bi of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh, a NGO working for the welfare of the survivors.
No arrests were made as the police too expressed solidarity with the Bhopal survivors.
It may be mentioned here that the survivors of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy while addressing a Press conference on Tuesday had lashed out at the Federal Government and Maharashtra Government for collaborating with Dow Chemical terming it to be "shameful" that the US multinational has been invited for a business conference in India.
"How can Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan invite Dow Chemical despite knowing the damage it has done to the people of Bhopal who are still facing health crisis due to contaminated water?" Rashida Bi had asked.
The survivors pointed out that even today hundreds of babies are born with deformities, while their parents suffer from damage to liver, kidney and lungs.
It may be recalled here that 40 tones of poisonous methyl isocyanate gas spewed from the pesticide plant of the Union Carbide pesticide factory in the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984. The gas leak killed 3,000 people instantly and more that 25,000 over the years. It also affected 100,000 people that night and estimates are that more than 500,000 continue to suffer till date.
Meanwhile, after making a highly successful debut in New Delhi in 2010, Aquatech India 2011 has made a significant move from its home base in New Delhi to Mumbai, India's financial capital. Aquatech India incorporates all sectors of process, drinking and wastewater industries under one roof, making it the only complete platform for the exciting Indian water sector.
Aquatech India 2011 will be the confluence of decision makers, professionals, advisors, technical experts, engineering organizations, consultants and users from the water industry. Huge investments in every water related industry will be required to tackle the unprecedented growth in the demand of water in Asia and especially in India.
Aquatech India 2011 is a joint venture between Amsterdam RAI and Inter Ads Exhibitions (India) Pvt. Ltd., a leading name in exhibitions in India. Indian Desalination Association, (InDA); International Water Association, (IWA); Indian Water Works Association, (IWWA); Indian Plumbing Association, (IPA); US Commercial Service, Water Quality Association, (WQA), that supports Aquatech India and strongly focuses on drinking water, process water and waste water management. Aquatech India has become a part of largest international series of water events in the world. (pervezbari@eth.net)

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