NEW DELHI: Representatives of three organisations working with those affected by the gas leak from Union Carbide’s plant in Bhopal have expressed satisfaction with the response of a Group of Ministers (GoM) after their meeting on Thursday.
The organisations had led a march of 50 Bhopal survivors and their supporters from Bhopal to Delhi and have been staging dharna at Jantar Mantar here for the past 20 days.
The GoM assured them that it would endorse and forward their demand for a special commission to address rehabilitation, and for legal action against Dow and Union Carbide, to the Prime Minister.
While emphasising that it had never conceded the Madhya Pradesh government’s request for inclusion of 20 additional municipal wards in Bhopal as gas-affected, the GoM members clarified that it had requested the State government to submit data on gas-related deaths and injuries in the 20 wards. But no such data had been submitted till date.
Human Resource Development Minister Arjun Singh, who heads the GoM, reportedly told the delegation that though there was no precedence but a special commission for Bhopal was justified as the disaster was unprecedented.
The GoM members are said to have expressed their support for the demand of the three organisations for legal action against the Dow and Carbide.
Chemical and Fertilizers Minister Ram Vilas Paswan assured the delegation that the government would continue its efforts to make the Dow Chemical pay Rs. 100 crore as advance for environmental remediation.
Mr. Paswan also admitted that after a recent fire incident at a toxic waste facility in Ankleshwar that was destined to receive Bhopal wastes, any attempts to send wastes anywhere else in the country would be met with opposition from local residents.