ABOUT 300 persons from Bhopal – representing four organisations working among the gas victims – would be holding a protest in Mumbai on November 6 during the international chemical trade fair – Indiachem 2006, protesting the Indian Government’s `red carpet welcome’ to multinational chemical companies.
Addressing a press conference today Satinath Sarangi of Bhopal Group for Information and Action (BGIA) said that this protest is part of the organisations’ continuing objection to setting up of any new chemical industry in the country.
The protests are to continue until the Bhopal gas victims gets proper medical, economic and social rehabilitation and compensation. The other three organisations to be represented during the protest at Mumbai are Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha and Bhopal ki Aawaz.
Sarangi said that the 350 Indian and multinational corporations participating in the trade fair include the Chisso Corporation allegedly responsible for the Minamata mercury pollution disaster in Japan and Mitsubhishi Corporations that allegedly caused large-scale radioactive pollution and forest felling in Malaysia. Apart from Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and the Union Minister of Chemicals and Fertilisers, seven Union secretaries are expected to participate in the Indiachem-2006.
Sarangi said that welcoming multinational chemical companies to set up shop in country is inviting many more Bhopal gas tragedies and the gas victims’ organisations would never allow this. He mentioned that representatives of more than two million victims of the industrial disasters from Mettur and Cuddalore in Tamil Nadu, Vapi and Ankleshwar in Gujarat, Warangal and Patancheru in Andhra Pradesh and Eloor in Kerala would be joining the Bhopal representatives to protest in Mumbai.
He further said that the organisations would also be protesting the decision to invite Dow Chemicals – the heirs to Union Carbide – to set up units at Haldia in West Bengal and Vishakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh. A task force has reportedly been set up in Planning Commission for this purpose, he said.
Rashida Bi of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh, Syed M Irfan of Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha and Shahid Noor of Bhopal ki Aawaz were present at the press conference.