Govt released UCC from liability for gas leak: Dow

Last Updated: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - 21:00

New Delhi: The Dow Chemical Company, which
owns Union Carbide Corporation, Tuesday said the Indian
government had "fully released" UCC and its subsidiary in
Bhopal from any civil liability for the 1984 gas tragedy.

"In 1989, the Government of India -- acting on behalf of
the victims by virtue of an Act of Parliament -- negotiated a
USD 470 million settlement and fully released UCC and Union
Carbide India Limited from any civil liability for the gas
tragedy," Dow Chemical Company spokesman, Scot Wheeler, said.

Replying to a questionnaire, he said the Dow
Chemical Company never owned nor inherited the facility in
Bhopal.

"When Dow acquired the shares of Union Carbide
Corporation, UCC had long ago ceased conducting business in
India and had sold its interest in Union Carbide India
Limited (UCIL)," Wheeler said.

He asserted that the UCC remains a separate company and
entity with a separate board, separate financial reporting and
its own employees.

"Union Carbide India Limited, the company that owned and
operated the Bhopal plant, is a viable corporation that still
exists to this day and had been renamed Eveready Industries
India Limited. Dow has never been connected to this company,"
Wheeler explained.

"The fact is that Dow never owned, operated nor inherited
the facility in Bhopal and efforts to attach Dow are
inappropriate and misdirected," he said.

In 1984, both UCC and UCIL participated in the settlement
of claims related to the gas tragedy, the spokesman said.

Referring to the USD 470 million settlement reached
with the Indian government, he said the Indian Supreme Court
had upheld and affirmed it as complete and final.

"UCC fully met its obligations under this agreement with
the Government of India and has no further legal
responsibility for the matter," Wheeler said adding, as per
the terms of the settlement if there was any shortfall in
compensation it was to be borne by the Indian government.

Dow had bought Union Carbide in 1999, whose local
51-percent-owned Indian unit was responsible for the gas
leakage in Bhopal.

However in 1994, UCC had sold its 50.9 per cent share in
UCIL to McLeod Russell (India) Limited, part of the Williamson
Magor group, which renamed the company as Eveready Industries
India Limited.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, June 22, 2010 - 21:00

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