Organisations working for the Bhopal gas tragedy victims on Sunday demanded that the toxic waste secretly smuggled out of the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal and dumped in Pithampur be immediately shifted out as it poses a threat to the people.
Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh on Saturday apologised to the people for the shifting of the lethal waste in 2008.
"Now that a central government minister has accepted that the waste was secretly dumped at Pithampur, we want the government to take immediate steps to remove it," said Balkrishna Namdeo of the Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pension Bhogi Sangharsh Morcha.
"We don't want the local people to suffer like those in Bhopal 25 years back," he added.
Ramesh, who visited the Pithampur incinerating site, about 230 km from Bhopal, said it was wrong to have brought 40 tonnes of waste to Pithampur for disposal in 2008.
However, he did not clarify on whose orders the waste was shifted to Pithampur in Dhar district.
"We have submitted a memorandum to him (Ramesh) saying the waste should not be disposed of at this site. It does not have proper facility and technology and in turn will affect the health of people," Namdeo said.
Ramesh, in turn, has told the people that whatever will be done at Pithampur will be done in a transparent and consultative manner and nothing will be done unilaterally.
"No hasty decision will be made for the disposal of the lethal waste. Technical examination of reports about ground water being contaminated will be carried out, and NGOs will be consulted before the safe disposal," Ramesh said.
Sadhna Karnik of Bhopal Gas Peedit Sangharsh Sahayog Samiti said: "It is ridiculous that the government despite knowing everything is not taking any action against the culprits."
The environment ministry has also formed a committee headed by Ramesh to monitor all activities relating to waste disposal, decontamination and remediation at the Bhopal gas tragedy site.