Dow Chemicals opposes higher compensation



New Delhi: Dow Chemicals, which owns Union Carbide since 2001, has opposed in the Supreme Court the petition filed by the Centre for enhancement of compensation from Rs 750 crore to Rs 7,700 crore for the victims of 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, the world’s worst industrial disaster.

In an affidavit, Dow Chemicals has said it will not pay more compensation for Bhopal victims as the settlement reached in 1989 for USD 470 million was more than adequate and fair.

The company further said the Union Carbide Corporation had no involvement in the Bhopal plant operations as the plant was managed by Indians in India.

Dow Chemicals also pointed out that the amount paid as compensation was three times more than envisaged under Indian laws, which was not challenged for two decades.

The affidavit was filed in response to the notice issued by the apex court on February 28 this year when it decided to revisit its 21-year-old judgment that allowed Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) to escape by paying a mere Rs 750-crore compensation to hundreds of victims.

The curative petitions filed by the Centre had questioned the compensation.

The government has sought a compensation of Rs 7,700 crore, saying the damages decided in 1989 were on the basis of the assessment at that time that there were 3,000 deaths, 20,000 people with serious injuries and 50,000 with minor ones. It said the death figure now stood at 5,295, with 35,000 people suffering from serious injuries and 5.27 lakh from minor ones.

PTI