Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications, Saturday, Sep 20, 2003
EVEN as the captains of the Indian industry gathered here today to set off a major corporate green initiative, representatives of some non-governmental organisations and people’s movements termed the effort as `Greenwashing Corporates Crimes’, criticising the corporate world for causing damage to environment.
Led by Samata, an NGO working in tribal areas in the north-coastal Andhra Pradesh, the protestors alleged that the corporates were shedding “crocodile tears”.
Dr A. Kishan Rao, President of Patancheru Anti-Pollution Committee, said chemical and bulk drug companies in the area dumped tonnes of toxic elements into the air and water, polluting environment.
“Ground water and blood samples collected from villages in the area contained high levels of toxic substances. We’ve got nothing against the industry. But we are concerned about the damage being done to the environment,” he said.
Ms Rashida Bee, President of Bhopal Gas Peedith Mahila Stationery Karamchari Sangh, demanded that Dow Chemicals, which took over Union Carbide, should take up the responsibility of toxic clean up in the city. “The onus is on Dow,” she said.
She told Business Line that a team of US Congress members are likely to visit Bhopal in the first week of December.
“As many as 18 Congress members in the US wrote to Mr William Stavropoulos, the Dow Chairman, demanding that his company assume liability for the wrongdoings of Union Carbide,” she said.
“We are going to present our case at the World Social Forum meeting scheduled to be held in Mumbai in January,” Rashida said.
Mr Ravi Rebbapragada of Samata alleged that companies seek business opportunities in the environmental disasters created by their own factories, technologies and products.
When asked about the charges levelled against the corporate bodies, Mr G.V. Prasad, Chairman of the Green Business Summit, wondered, “why should we be negative about some thing which is positive.”
“Things can always change. Our job is to sensitise the industry about the need for going green. What’s wrong in it,” Mr Prasad, the Vice-Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Dr Reddy’s Laboratories, which came under severe criticism from the protestors for causing damage to environment, said.