GoM on Bhopal gas tragedy discusses legal options
The Group of Ministers (GoM) on the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy began its second day of deliberations here on Saturday to discuss the legal, environmental and health issues relating to the world's worst industrial disaster.india Updated: Jun 19, 2010 14:49 IST
The Group of Ministers (GoM) on the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy began its second day of deliberations here Saturday to discuss the legal, environmental and health issues relating to the world's worst industrial disaster.
The GoM is scheduled to have two sessions Saturday and discussions will continue Sunday. It is expected to give its report to the cabinet Monday.
Home Minister P. Chidambaram, who heads the group of ministers, said Friday that the legal, health, remediation issues and other aspects arising out of the judgement of the trial court in Bhopal gas leak case will be taken up by the GoM Saturday.
He said that various issues will be discussed separately after which a comprehensive view will be taken.
Chidambaram said the GoM will give most sympathetic consideration to all those who had suffered because of the tragedy.
Official sources said the GoM will explore the options of moving court for reconsideration of the 1996 Supreme Court judgement reducing the offences against the accused into one of criminal negligence from that of culpable homicide not amounting to murder. They said that the issue of fixing responsibility and possibility of seeking extradition of then Union Carbide chairman Warren Anderson, an accused in the 1984 Bhopal gas leak, may also be looked at.
The sources said that the Planning Commission is understood to have released Rs.982 crore to the Madhya Pradesh government for rehabilitation of the Bhopal gas victims.
The state government's proposal, in the shape of an action plan, had been pending with the commission.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh reconstituted the high-level ministerial group, originally set up in 2008, following the public outrage after a Bhopal court June 7 sentenced seven Indian executives of Union Carbide to only two years in jail and granted them bail immediately.
The Dec 2-3, 1984, toxic gas leak from the Union Carbide plant in Bhopal killed an estimated 20,000 people over the years, including over 3,000 of them on the same night.
Besides Chidambaram, the GoM consists of Health and Family Welfare Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, Law Minister M. Veerappa Moily, Urban Development Minister Jaipal Reddy, Roads and Highways Minister Kamal Nath, Tourism Minister Kumari Selja, Fertilisers and Chemicals Minister M.K. Alagiri, Minister of State in the PMO Prithviraj Chavan and Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh.