Indian Government Weighs Into Dow Sponsorship Row

February 27, 2012

After repeated protests by the IOA falling on deaf ears by the International Olympic Committee (IOC), the Indian government has now stepped in by asking the body to drop Dow Chemicals as sponsor for this year’s London Games for the company’s link to the Bhopal Gas tragedy. 

The sports ministry has sent a “strongly-worded letter” to the IOC on Friday seeking Dow’s removal as an Olympic sponsor. 

The move comes after the IOC refused to entertain pleas by the IOA. 

The IOC said while it appreciated IOA’s concern for the victims of 1984 Bhopal Tragedy but Dow Chemicals had no ownership stakes in Union Carbide till 2000. 

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

IOA had 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 Roggehad said that “IOC recognises that the Bhopal tragedy in 1984 was horrific event for India and the world. The Olympic Movement sympathises 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 $470 million compensation agreement was approved by the Indian Supreme Court,” he said.

by Ismail Uddin