Terming the Bhopal gas disaster of December 1984 as a national tragedy, the union minister for forest and environment, Jairam Ramesh on Saturday said that there was an urgent need to look ahead of it.

“We have drawn lessons from the tragedy but the only way out now was to look ahead,” the minister told reporters.

Answering questions, he said that if one went into the reasons behind the disaster, one could come up with answers that may sound uncomfortable.

When informed that no one has been punished for the disaster even 25 years after it took place, Mr. Ramesh said that this was not a matter with which he was concerned.

The minister said that there was a need to incinerate 350 tonnes of waste that was lying around the Union Carbide factory from which the lethal Methyl Iso Cyanate gas had leaked on the fateful night of December 2-3, 1984.

Mr. Ramesh said the fact that there was nothing lethal in the chemical waste as he had held some of it in hands during his visit to the factory earlier in the day.

The Minister held meetings with Madhya Pradesh government officials related to the work of his ministry on various issues relating to forests and environment in the State.