Hours before the Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram met on Friday, the Planning Commission is understood to have released Rs.982 crore to the Madhya Pradesh government for rehabilitation of the Bhopal gas tragedy victims.
There was no official word on the reported approval of funds. The funds released for sustainable economic and medical rehabilitation of the victims would need the approval of the GoM, official sources said.
It is understood that the GoM will give broad guidelines on the use of the funds.
The State's proposal, in the shape of an action plan, had been pending for long with the Commission. It had earlier rejected the action plan on the grounds that the proposals were not convincing. However, changes and circumstances and public outrage against the low compensation for the victims are understood to have forced the Commission to review its stand and release the funds.
In its proposal, the State government accepted that 16,000 people had died and 5,000 women were widowed in the 1984 disaster due to the toxic waste that polluted the environment in and around the abandoned Union Carbide factory in Bhopal.
The action plan for rehabilitation is divided into four components — medical, economic, social and environmental.