In a major setback to the central and Madhya Pradesh governments, German company GIZ has refused to carry out disposal of the chemical waste lying at the Union Carbide premises in Bhopal, German press agency DPA reported on Monday night.
GIZ was to incinerate 350 metric tonnes of packaged chemical waste resulting from the Bhopal gas disaster of December 1984 in Germany for a payment of $4.5 million (Rs. 25 crore) by the Centre.
The Group of Ministers (GoM) on the Bhopal gas disaster headed by union finance minister P Chidambaram had cleared the proposal to assign the task of packaged waste disposal to GIZ.
The state government was in the last stages of finalising a deal with the company when it decided to shun the job in the wake "negative" publicity in the German media.
According to the DPA report, GIZ said in a letter to Chidambaram that it had reviewed its engagement following a "negative" media campaign in Germany which depicted the project as being against the interests of the German people.
"We have made an assessment of the situation in Germany and decided that it would be in the best interest of strong Indo-German cooperation not to pursue this project offer further," the letter from Hans-Hermann Dube, regional director of GIZ International Services stated, as quoted by DPA.