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2 Sep 2006

Nityanand Jayaraman, Inter Press Service

Union Carbide Must Clean Bhopal Mess - Residents [India]

After an appellate court in the United States rejected claims by Bhopal city residents, seeking compensation from Union Carbide for environmental contamination around the site of the world's worst industrial disaster, plans are afoot to have the case transferred to India...Without ruling on whether or not Union Carbide ought to remediate the environment, the court in New York observed on Aug. 10 that any order by it directing Union Carbide to clean up will run into technical problems "because of the impracticality of a court-supervised clean-up project on land owned by a foreign sovereign."...the court also rejected an appeal by Bhopal resident, Hasina Bi, seeking reinstatement of claims for property damages and remediation of the Union Carbide plant site and contamination of groundwater. The court cited lack of legal tenure over her property...While the decision is a setback to the Bhopal survivors, it may still be premature for Union Carbide to celebrate. "Government of India is not party to the U.S. Court case. We have approached the Madhya Pradesh (state) High Court seeking that liability be fixed on the polluter," says Yashwir Singh, director of the ‘Bhopal Cell' at India's ministry for chemicals...The case in the High Court...names Union Carbide, Eveready Industries (Carbide's successor in India) and Carbide's new owner Dow Chemical as respondents.