Indian Olympic chief steps up Dow 2012 stadium wrap row

INDIA’S top Olympic official has added his voice to calls for London 2012 organisers to abandon their sponsorship with Dow Chemicals over the company’s links to the Bhopal disaster.

VK Malhotra, the president of the Indian Olympic Association, spoke out ahead of today’s meeting to decide what further steps to take to demonstrate the country’s widespread concerns surrounding the deal. An athlete boycott has been mooted. He said: “The Olympics are about love, brotherhood and transparency and this company is linked with another which was responsible for killing thousands of Indian people. It’s unacceptable that such a company is a sponsor in the Olympics. So we will ask the London organisers to remove the company from being a sponsor.”

Dow has agreed to pay £7m to cover the cost of the high-tech fabric wrap that will adorn the outside of the Olympic Stadium in east London. It will not be branded.

But Indian athletes and British politicians have lobbied against the deal because of Dow’s association with one of the worst toxic gas leaks in history.

The 1984 accident, in which 15,000 died and tens of thousands more were maimed, involved a pesticide factory in Bhopal then owned by Union Carbide, a company bought by Dow in 2001.

London 2012 chairman Lord Coe has defended the deal, arguing that Dow was not in charge either when the accident occurred or when Union Carbide agreed a final compensation payment in 1989.