Pune: A Rs400 crore research and development (R&D) centre planned by the largest US chemical maker by sales, Dow Chemical Co., at Chakan (near Pune in Maharashtra) seems to be headed for fresh trouble with a number of non-governmental organizations (NGO) now joining the villagers in their protests against the centre.
The villagers have been blocking access to the land allotted to the company, stopping construction of the R&D centre since 16 January. They are seeking a written assurance that the operations at the centre will not, in any way, harm them, their cattle or their land.
NGOs such as Lokayat and Lokshashan Andolan have now joined the protests and so have a former judge of the Mumbai high court, B.G. Kolse Patil, and a retired inspector general of police. Interestingly, a public rally planned in the village on Saturday is due to be addressed by two members of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Victims Struggle Committee.
Activists involved in relief and rehabilitation work for the 3 December 1984 Bhopal gas leak victims have been demanding the company, which took over the liabilities of Union Carbide in the US, should also take over the liabilities of Union Carbide India Ltd in Bhopal. Dow Chemical bought Union Carbide in 2001.
“We have nothing to do with Union Carbide India Ltd. That company was sold off by the government. It is unfortunate that a project that could put India and Chakan on the chemical technologies map of India should run into this kind of problem,” said Ramesh Ramachandran, president and CEO of Dow India. “We are in dialogue with the government and the villagers on this issue and are hopeful that they understand that we are not manufacturing chemicals here and that this is a research and development centre.”
ICICI Bank drops plan to set up holding co
Mumbai: India’s biggest bank by market value, ICICI Bank Ltd, has dropped plans to set up a holding company, a statement said on Friday.
“The board of directors of ICICI Bank at its meeting on 1-3 March 2007 had, subject to the receipt of all regulatory approvals, approved the transfer of ICICI Bank’s equity shareholding in ICICI Prudential Life Insurance Co. Ltd, ICICI Lombard General Insurance Co. Ltd, ICICI Prudential Asset Management Co. Ltd and ICICI Prudential Trust Ltd, to a proposed new subsidiary,” the statement said. The arrangement was subject to approvals from the Reserve Bank of India, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority and the Foreign Investment Promotion Board.
“As the agreed date has elapsed and this requirement has not been satisfied, the arrangement with respect to the offers stands terminated,” it said. (Staff Writer)
NewsX drama spills on to the street
New Delhi:The drama at NewsX, the start-up television news channel of INX News Pvt. Ltd, spilled into the streets on Friday with former staffers there asking minister of information and broadcasting, Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi, to look into how unfairly they were treated in recent days as well as to examine the source of funding for the channel. Dasmunsi, in turn, said he referred “serious allegations including source of channel funding” to the finance ministry “to ascertain the facts through their investigation wing”. The journalists who had apparently no issues with the funding until now, have come out as part of an exodus that began with the high-profile exit of CEO Vir Sanghvi in a public fallout with promoters, who include former Star India CEO Peter Mukerjea, his wife Indrani Mukerjea and a clutch of private equity investors, including Temasek Holdings, New Vernon and New Silk Route. Vir Sanghvi is advisory editorial director for the ‘Hindustan Times’ and a columnist for ‘Lounge’, the Saturday magazine of ‘Mint’. Both ‘Mint’ and the ‘Hindustan Times’ are published by HT Media Ltd (Sruthijith K.K.)