Bhopal GoM discusses relief & rehabilitation; PC assures action

Amid raging controversy on the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy, the reconstituted GoM met on Friday for the first time.

New Delhi: The Group of Ministers on Bhopal
gas tragedy will finalise its report on Monday making its
recommendations on relief, rehabilitation and remediation
issues and legal options in the wake of the recent trial court
judgement in the case.

After the first meeting of the reconstituted GoM that was
mandated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to give its report
in 10 days, Home Minister P Chidambaram, who heads the GoM,
told reporters that the Group was proceeding in the right
direction and was determined address all issues, including
relief, rehabilitation and remediation by Sunday.

"We are looking at them separately and then we will take
a comprehensive view," he said adding they were now looking
into the number of people affected, number of claims that were
accepted and claims categorised as death and injury cases.

He said the GoM will meet in two sessions tomorrow and on
Sunday. "On Monday, we should be able to finalise the

"We will give our best and most sympathetic consideration
to all these people who have suffered as a result of this
tragedy," Chidambaram said.

The GoM was announced in the wake of a raging controversy
over the light punishment given to Bhopal case accused by a
local court and several questions being raised over the exit
of the then Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson.

Union Ministers M Veerappa Moily (Law), Ghulam Nabi Azad
(Health), Kamal Nath (Surface Transport), M K Alagiri
(Chemicals), Kumari Selja (Tourism), S Jaipal Reddy (Urban
Development), Prithviraj Chavan (Science and Technology) and
Jairam Ramesh (Environment). Madhya Pradesh Minister Babulal
Gaur also attended the meeting as special invitee.

Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrashekhar, Home Secretary G K
Pillai, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao were among the
officials who attended the meeting.

At the meeting today, the GoM identified the areas which
require in-depth consideration in the wake of the mandate
given by the Prime Minister to look into relief,
rehabilitation, remediation and all options available to the
government after the judgement of the trial court on June 7.

"Tomorrow, we will look at legal and health issues,
remediation issues and all other issues that arise out of the
judgement of the trial court," he said.

Chidambaram said he would not be in a position to share
any details about the conclusion till the report is submitted
to the Prime Minister.

During today`s deliberations, it was felt that in
government`s eyes, Warren Anderson was still a proclaimed
offender and the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to
murder under Section 304 (Part II) was still there.

Tomorrow, the meeting is also likely to consider the
liability of Dow Chemicals for the cleaning up of the site in
Bhopal. It was re-collected that the Law Ministry had taken
such a stand in the Madhya Pradesh High Court.

The issue of the possibility of Anderson extradition will
also be taken tomorrow.

Asked whether the Planning Commission had given a Rs 982
crore plan for relief, Chidambaram said the plan panel had
given its view on the Second Action Plan submitted by the
Government of Madhya Pradesh.

"It is a separate issue and will be considered," the Home
Minister said.


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