It has been 31 years since the Bhopal gas disaster, but the rehabilitation work planned by the government has not been completed yet.
The state government has been still sitting over nearly Rs 140 crore funds from the Union government that were allocated for the rehabilitation of the disaster victims in 2010-11. A quarter of the fund amount was contributed by the state government as well. In fact, the total fund allocation had been Rs 280 crore.
However, the state government has managed to spend only half of the money - Rs 140 crore - on various welfare and rehabilitation measures for the gas victims, while the remaining amount is still lying with the state government.
Presently, the funds are lying with the government treasury. The gas relief and rehabilitation department could use the funds only after the state government would make a provision in the state budget in this regard.
When asked about the unspent funds, Abhishek Singh, director, gas relief and rehabilitation department, said that plans to spend the funds have been prepared and work on the ground would commence “very soon”.
“About Rs 80 crore has been set aside for livelihood projects for gas victims. This would be done with the help of the commerce and industries department. Besides, Rs 40 crore have been earmarked for housing for gas victims. This project would be executed with the help of the municipal corporation,” he said.
Another Rs 20 crore has been set aside for medical equipment for the gas victims. “We did not have medical specialists, who could advice on procurement of medical equipment. We have recently employed medical specialists on contract and tenders for the equipment would be floated very soon,” he added.