About Rs. 4 crore earmarked for safe disposal of toxic waste lying at the Union Carbide site in Bhopal was not utilised by the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board (MPPCB), an audit report has said.
The State government had allocated Rs. two crore during 2009-10 to the MPPCB for common treatment facility to be developed under Common Transport Storage and Disposal Facility (CTSDF) at Peethampur in Dhar district. A matching grant of Rs. 80 lakh was also provided during the fiscal as first instalment by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests.
An MoU was also signed among the Ministry of Environment and Forests, MPPCB and the Madhya Pradesh Waste Management Project for the purpose.
It was found during the audit by the State’s Accountant General (AG) office that the project was not implemented till date and an amount of Rs 2.80 lakh was lying with the Board, said the report, accessed through RTI by environment activist Ajay Dubey.
When the objection brought to the notice of senior officials, they said the work could not be done as it did not get the MoU duly signed from the central government. At present, trial run is being carried out in the supervision of Central Pollution Control Board, Delhi according to the direction of Supreme Court, the report finalised in July said.
The facility was meant to safely dispose toxic waste.
The audit also found that about Rs 1.07 crore allocated in 2009-10 to check level of poisonous in the waste material was unused. The amount was given to the board for safe disposal of toxic material at the Union Carbide site.
The Board, when informed about the findings, said the process of examining the waste is under process.
About 346 metric tonnes of toxic waste is lying at the site of one of the world’s worst industrial disasters. Over 5,200 people had died during the disaster at the Union Carbide plant in Madhya Pradesh’s Bhopal on the intervening night of December 2-3, 1984.
“It is an irony that the State government has failed to remove the toxic waste from the accident site. The waste is posing danger for the people living near the closed factory,” said Mr. Dubey.
A Group of Ministers (GoM) led by Finance Minister P Chidambaram is also deliberating on ways to safely dispose the toxic waste lying at the site.