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Jayanthi Natarajan condemns Dow Chemicals' sponsorship of London Olympics

Chennai, Fri, 17 Feb 2012 ANI

Chennai, Feb 17 (ANI): Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jayanthi Natarajan on Friday condemned the decision of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to continue with Dow Chemicals' sponsorship of the 2012 London Games.


"I strongly feel that somebody who is responsible for such a tremendous environmental disaster in this country should not be sponsoring the Olympics," she told the media here.


Natarajan was, however, quick to clarify that her stance was based on her personal opinion, and was not the view of the Central Government.


"The government has and will take a view, that is what the cabinet decides. I am not the spokesperson for the cabinet. I am stating my view as citizen of India," she added.


The Vice President of Indian Olympic Association (IOA), Tarlochan Singh, had earlier on Thursday criticized the International Olympic Committee (IOC) decision to allow Dow Chemicals to remain the sponsor of the 2012 London Olympics.


"We have received a letter from the International Olympic Committee. They have made a wrong decision and they will have to reconsider it. This kind of decision will hurt the sentiments of people. We will take up this matter in our next meeting," he told the media in New Delhi


Singh was reacting to the IOC's statement that while it appreciated the IOA's concern for the victims of 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, it maintained that Dow Chemicals had no ownership stakes in Union Carbide till 2000.


The Ministry of Sports and Youth Affairs had earlier last year written to the Indian Olympic Association regarding the controversy surrounding sponsorship of the London Olympics by Dow Chemicals, a firm that is being blamed for the December 3, 1984 Bhopal Gas tragedy.


The Sports Ministry had asked the IOA to raise the Dow issue with International Olympic Committee, as in India; there is strong public sentiment against Dow being the sponsor of an international sporting event.


In the early hours of December 3, 1984, around 40 metric tonnes of toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked into the atmosphere from the plant of Union Carbide and the breeze carried the lethal gas to the surrounding slums.


The government says around 3,500 died because of the disaster. Activists, however, calculate that 25,000 people died in the immediate aftermath and the years that followed. (ANI)


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