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Government released UCC from civil liability: Dow

New Delhi: The Dow Chemical Company, which owns Union Carbide Corporation (UCC), on 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 $470-million settlement and fully released the UCC and the Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) from any civil liability for the gas tragedy,” the Dow Chemical Company spokesman, Scot Wheeler, said.

Replying to a questionnaire from PTI, he said the Dow Chemical Company never owned or inherited the facility in Bhopal.

“When the Dow acquired the shares of Union Carbide Corporation, the UCC had long ago ceased conducting business in India and had sold its interest in UCIL,” Mr. Wheeler said.

He asserted that “the UCC remains a separate company and entity with a separate board, separate financial reporting and its own employees. The UCIL, the company that owned and operated the Bhopal plant, is a viable corporation that still exists to this day and has been renamed Eveready Industries India Limited. The Dow has never been connected to this company,” Mr. Wheeler explained.

“The fact is that the Dow never owned, operated or inherited the facility in Bhopal and efforts to attach the Dow are inappropriate and misdirected,” he said.

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

Referring to the $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,” Mr. Wheeler said adding that as per the terms of the settlement if there was any shortfall in compensation it was to be borne by the Indian government. — PTI

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