Union Carbide India Limited

Union Carbide India Limited

Union Carbide India Limited

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Union Carbide India Limited (UCIL) was a chemical company established in 1934, eventually expanding to employ 9,000 people working at 14 plants in five divisions. UCIL was 51% owned by Union Carbide Corporation (UCC) and 49% by Indian investors including the Government of India. UCIL produced batteries, carbon products, welding equipment, plastics, industrial chemicals, pesticides, and marine products.

In 1970 UCIL built a pesticide plant in Bhopal, India, which gained worldwide attention as a result of the Bhopal disaster. In December 1984, a release of methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas resulted in the death or injury of thousands of people in the surrounding residential areas. At the time of the disaster UCIL was ranked twenty-first in size among companies operating in India. It had revenues of Rs 2 billion (then equivalent to US$170 million).

In November 1994, UCC completed the sale of its interest in UCIL to McLeod Russel Ltd. of Calcutta. UCIL was subsequently renamed Eveready Industries India Ltd.

Impact of the Bhopal Disaster

In February 1989, the Supreme Court of India directed UCC and UCIL to pay $470 million to settle all claims arising from the tragedy. The government, UCC and UCIL agreed with the ruling, and the two companies paid the settlement on 24 February.

UCIL maintained a low profile in the post-Bhopal period. The chairman, Keshub Mahindra, and the Bhopal factory manager, J.Mukund, moved on to new positions. Most of the Bhopal plant...
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