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HindustanTimes Fri,24 Oct 2014

Squabble stalls memorial for disaster victims

Aurangzeb Naqshbandi, Hindustan Times  New Delhi, June 12, 2010
First Published: 23:45 IST(12/6/2010) | Last Updated: 23:50 IST(12/6/2010)

Twenty-six years after the world's worst industrial disaster struck Bhopal, killing about 15,000 people, a proposal for a solemn memorial is yet to take off, mainly due to political squabbles between the Congress and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

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Rehabilitation

The BJP government in Madhya Pradesh forwarded the proposal to the Congress-led Centre in December 2005 for sanctioning the memorial.

The Centre advised the state to approach the Planning Commission directly for funds.
Apparently peeved by the amount of assistance, the BJP government approached the Centre again in November 2009, this time with a revised estimated expenditure.

The Centre again advised the state to approach the Planning Commission.

The BJP government in Madhya Pradesh forwarded the proposal to the Congress-led central government in December 2005 for sanctioning the memorial involving an estimated expenditure of Rs. 70 crore.

The Centre advised the state government to approach the Planning Commission directly for funds. The plan panel accordingly approved one-time central assistance of Rs. 10 crore during 2006-07.

Apparently peeved over the amount of financial assistance sanctioned for the memorial, the BJP government approached the Centre once again in November 2009, this time with a revised estimated expenditure of Rs. 116.18 crore.

But, the Centre's response was same. It advised the state government to approach the Planning Commission for the required funds.

The state government has proposed that the memorial would be constructed on 77 acres and be similar to those built in Hiroshima in Japan and Chernobyl in Ukraine. It would display rare photographs of the disaster and document the personal history of every victim.

Several non-governmental organisations have repeatedly demanded that a memorial be built at the site so that the "world remembers the lessons" of Bhopal.

The NGOs had suggested that the memorial should include a museum housing details about the tragedy, the medical treatment and rehabilitation, the laws enacted worldwide as a result, the lessons learned and photos and artifacts of the victims so that scholars and future generations can use them for research about tragic accidents.


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