IOA writes to IOC on Dow issue

New Delhi: Indian Olympic Association has shot off a strongly-worded letter to International Olympic Committee urging it to talk to the London Olympic organisers and remove Dow Chemicals as sponsor of the 2012 Games. IOA General Body, at its meeting last Thursday, had decided to lodge a strong protest with the IOC over Dow`s controversial sponsorship.

"It`s IOA`s considered opinion that Dow Chemical should be removed as sponsors of the Games because the very presence of this company is against the spirit of Olympic ideals," IOA acting president Vijay Kumar Malhotra said in the letter.

"IOA urges International Olympic Committee to urgently take this matter up with the organisers of the London Games and also convey our concerns to them and ensure matter is sorted out amicably keeping in view the sentiments of the millions of people. Even Britain`s Shadow minister for Olympics Tessa Jowell, who was in Delhi last week, had asked the Games organisers to drop DOW Chemical`s as the sponsors," he added.

Dow had bought United States chemical firm Union Carbide, whose plant was responsible for gas tragedy that took place in Bhopal in 1984 killing and disabling thousands in one of worst industrial disasters in recent history. In the letter to IOC President Jacques Rogge, a copy of which has also been sent to London Olympic Games Chairman Sebastian Coe, IOA also said Dow Chemical`s claim that the Bhopal issue has been settled was not correct. "A false campaign has been launched by the DOW Chemical`s saying that matter has been settled. It is not correct. The case is still pending in the court and no final compensation has been made," Malhotra said in the letter.

"IOA has received representations from several former Olympians, hundreds of suffering people, NGO`s and agencies working among the thousands of Gas victims, protesting the London Games Organisers link with Dow Chemicals," the letter said. Bowling to pressure, Dow has now agreed to remove its name from the fabric wrap around the London Olympic stadium but Malhotra said so far IOA has not received any communication from London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in this regard.

"We are trying to ascertain the facts," Malhotra said. IOA has also informed Sports Minister Ajay Maken about the letter sent to the IOC and LOCOG and sought Government`s views on the subject. "We will like to hear from you about the Government`s stand on this issue. It will be in the interest of the Indian sports if Government and IOA are on the same page and speak in one voice on this sensitive matter," Malhotra said.