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Home > Business > Business Headline > Report

Alumni urge IITs to boycott Dow Chemicals

BS Reporter in New Delhi | October 25, 2007 09:03 IST

Dow Chemicals, the new owner of the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal, is facing opposition from new quarters over issues related to the gas disaster of December 1984.

About 1,000 alumni of the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have sent a petition to the directors of the seven premier government-owned engineering institutes urging them to ban Dow Chemicals, which acquired the Union Carbide plant in 2001, from any partnership or role in the premier institutes of the country.

This comes soon after the company was forced to cancel pre-placement talks, due in the last week of October, in IIT Madras and Bombay following pressure from some of the students and faculty.

"A separate petition signed by 89 of the faculty and students within IIT Madras urged its director to bar Dow from recruiting students on campus. The company cancelled its pre-placement talks in IIT Madras and Bombay after students raised the issue about its entry into IIT," they said.

Releasing the petition here, Magsaysay award winner Arvind Kejriwal and activist Praful Bidwai, both IIT alumni, said the public outrage stemmed from Dow's continued evasion of legal responsibilities in Bhopal.

"Dow Chemicals not only acquired Union Carbide but also its liabilities as well. The company has to clean up the toxic waste in Bhopal, compensate the victims of contamination and force its subsidiary to face criminal trial in the Bhopal court. Otherwise, Dow will be met with hostility wherever it goes in India," Bidwai said.

When contacted, Nandkumar Sanglekar, director (public affairs), said, "We are not aware of the developments. Dow India is searching for the best talent in the country to expand its operations and we would go to the IITs for recruitment."

"From last six months we have recruited more than 120 engineers and 100 researchers from some of the leading institutions in the country and so far our experience is encouraging," he said.

"Dow was supposed to come to IIT Madras for recruitment in last week of October. But after the protests from some students and faculty, they cancelled their preplacement talks.

They informed that they would send a representative in a few days to resolve the matter," Jayakumar, placement co-ordinator, IIT Madras told Business Standard.

Calling upon the students of IITs to bar Dow from entering their campuses, Bidwai and Kejriwal urged the IITs to set an example by developing a screening criteria for corporations wishing to partner or recruit from IITs.

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