The Centre, under fire from the victims of the Bhopal gas tragedy for the way the legal case has panned out over the last 26 years, on Wednesday announced the reconstitution of a Group of Ministers (GoM) to go into the relief and rehabilitation measures for those affected by the world's worst industrial disaster.
Curiously, while the UPA government made the announcement 48 hours after the June 7 verdict of a Bhopal court, the government order reconstituting the GOM, first set up during UPA 1, is dated May 26, 2010.
But if the announcement was aimed at calming public anger, the GoM's membership has angered activists.
Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram replaces Arjun Singh, who is no longer in government, as the head of the panel. The other members are Ghulam Nabi Azad, M. Veerappa Moily, S. Jaipal Reddy, Kamal Nath, Selja, M.K. Alagiri, Prithviraj Chavan and Jairam Ramesh.
In a press release, Toxics Watch, which obtained internal documents about Dow's lobbying efforts to avoid clean up costs from the PMO, criticised the inclusion of Mr. Chidambaram and Mr. Nath. “The documents we obtained reveal how [they] have already expressed their support for Dow Chemical Company's proposal to save it from Union Carbide Corporation's liability, which it inherited in 2001 after merger,” the NGO said.