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Updated: February 16, 2012 16:33 IST

IOC defends Dow sponsorship

  • PTI
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Survivors of the Bhopal gas tragedy, stand near effigies of London Olympic organizing committee chairman Sebastian Coe to protest a sponsorship deal with Dow Chemicals for the 2012 Olympics, in Bhopal. File Photo.
Survivors of the Bhopal gas tragedy, stand near effigies of London Olympic organizing committee chairman Sebastian Coe to protest a sponsorship deal with Dow Chemicals for the 2012 Olympics, in Bhopal. File Photo.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has appreciated Indian Olympic Association’s (IOA) concern for the victims of 1984 Bhopal Tragedy but maintained that Dow Chemicals had no ownership stakes in Union Carbide till 2000.

IOC also said that its relationship with Dow Chemicals is well over 30 years and “we were aware of the Bhopal tragedy when discussing the partnership with Dow.”

IOA has repeatedly expressed its opposition to the Dow Chemicals as one of the sponsors for the London Olympics, because of its ownership of the infamous Union Carbide which was responsible for the worst industrial disaster in India.

IOA had urged the IOC and London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) to withdraw Dow as Games Sponsors.

In a letter to IOA acting President Vijay Kumar Malhotra, IOC chief Jacques Rogge has said that “IOC recognizes that the Bhopal tragedy in 1984 was horrific event for India and the world. The Olympic Movement sympathizes with the grief of the victims’ families and regrets the ongoing suffering people face in the region.”

“The IOC and LOCOG were aware of the Bhopal tragedy when discussing the partnership with Dow. Dow had no connection with the Bhopal tragedy. Dow did not have any ownership stake in Union Carbide until 16 years after the accident and 12 years after the USD 470 million compensation agreement was approved by the Indian Supreme Court,” he said.

“The court has upheld this agreement twice since then, in 1991 and 2007. We understand that this is being reviewed yet a third time by the India Supreme Court and we are aware of Dow’s position in this mater, and of the sensitivities of all parties.”

“We only enter into partnerships with organizations that we believe work in accordance with the values of the Olympic Movement. Dow is a global leader in its field of business and is committed to good corporate citizenship. The company has supported the Olympic Movement for over 30 years, providing support and bringing industry-leading expertise and innovation to the Games,” Mr. Rogge said.

“We do hope that the Indian Olympic Association is recognizing this, while we appreciate the difficult situation you are facing in your country.”

IOA is not convinced

Reacting to the letter, Mr. Malhotra said that IOA was not convinced by the IOC’s stand.

“We want that IOC should understand and appreciate the feelings and sentiments of the victims and drop Dow as sponsors,” he said.

He also wanted the Union government to come out with a clear stand on this issue.

“We have yet to receive any reply from the Government, while IOC has written to us,” he said.

Mr. Malhotra said while Dow Chemical operates in India with the full knowledge and permission of the Government, it is throwing the ball into the IOA’s court when this sponsorship issue is raised.

“Government should come clean on this issue,” he added.

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After whatever the victims of the Bhopal Gas tragedy have gone through, and who are still fighting for their rights and justice, the next thing they need is insensitivity shown by the IOC. Since the IOA has put forward its deliberations, its now up to the Indian Government to further give a push to the matter.

from:  Prerna Nahata
Posted on: Feb 17, 2012 at 09:29 IST

We should bycott the olympics altogether anyway.

from:  Babu Rao
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 17:35 IST

The opposition to DOW by IOA is difficult to make sense of. Some of
the main reasons why I find it hard to understand the rationale behind
the IOA's opposition are:

1) DOW is associated with IOC and Olympics for the last few decades,
why is IOA making it an issue now?
2) DOW has operations in India and if that is acceptable, then the
opposition to its sponsorship is absurd.
3) IOA's collective failure to check corruption and malpractices
during the commonwealth and its current principled stand of respecting
people's sentiments is just an act of diverting attention away from
its internal flaws.

from:  Yogesh Baskar
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 16:53 IST

I am happy to see that at least now someone at the high level is
making a stand for the people of India who have suffered because of
this tragedy. Let me remind that in the recent natural disaster (oil
spill off the US coast by BP) , action was taken against the chief
executive of BP.
In India none of the top executives of Union carbide or DOW
have been questioned except for the local company heads. Also the
initial ruling given against the company did not cover the clean up of
the infected land.
Rig explosion and Oil spill in US - life lost, 7 dead -BP made
to pay 250 million USD sued for 20 billion USD and MADE to clean up
Bopal gas tragedy - tens of thousands dead and dying, thousands
of reported deformed births - 250 million payed - not a single person
jailed for negligence, no clean up done
Do they believe that the Indians are inferior to Americans ??

from:  Karthik Sekar
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 15:49 IST

India should boycott olympics if Dow Chemicals becomes a sponser.

from:  Kishor
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 15:32 IST

It's a shame on the part of India to have such double substandard
in such sensational issues. Indian govt. comfortably forget the plight
of the people of India while allowing the company to function in
India. Dow India has three established Centers of Excellence in the
areas of Engineering (Chennai), Research & Development (Pune) and
Transactional Services and Expertise (Mumba).
The Govt on India should come out with white paper on the issue and
should show that it is not a corporate govt, a govt that exist for the
corporate world.

from:  Viju Kallara Jose
Posted on: Feb 16, 2012 at 14:46 IST
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