The Group of Ministers on Bhopal gas tragedy will finalise its report on Monday making its recommendations on relief, rehabilitation and remediation issues and legal options in the wake of the recent trial court judgement in the case.
After the first meeting of the reconstituted GoM that was mandated by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to give its report in 10 days, Home Minister P Chidambaram, who heads the GoM, told reporters that the Group was proceeding in the right direction and was determined address all issues, including relief, rehabilitation and remediation by Sunday.
"We are looking at them separately and then we will take a comprehensive view," he said adding they were now looking into the number of people affected, number of claims that were accepted and claims categorised as death and injury cases. He said the GoM will meet in two sessions tomorrow and on Sunday. "On Monday, we should be able to finalise the recommendations."
"We will give our best and most sympathetic consideration to all these people who have suffered as a result of this tragedy," Chidambaram said.
The GoM was announced in the wake of a raging controversy over the light punishment given to Bhopal case accused by a local court and several questions being raised over the exit of the then Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson.
Union Ministers M Veerappa Moily (Law), Ghulam Nabi Azad (Health), Kamal Nath (Surface Transport), M K Alagiri (Chemicals), Kumari Selja (Tourism), S Jaipal Reddy (Urban Development), Prithviraj Chavan (Science and Technology) and Jairam Ramesh (Environment). Madhya Pradesh Minister Babulal Gaur also attended the meeting as special invitee.
Cabinet Secretary K M Chandrashekhar, Home Secretary G K Pillai, Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao were among the officials who attended the meeting.
At the meeting today, the GoM identified the areas which require in-depth consideration in the wake of the mandate given by the Prime Minister to look into relief, rehabilitation, remediation and all options available to the government after the judgement of the trial court on June 7. "Tomorrow, we will look at legal and health issues, remediation issues and all other issues that arise out of the judgement of the trial court," he said.
Chidambaram said he would not be in a position to share any details about the conclusion till the report is submitted to the Prime Minister. During today's deliberations, it was felt that in government's eyes, Warren Anderson was still a proclaimed offender and the charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder under Section 304 (Part II) was still there.
Tomorrow, the meeting is also likely to consider the liability of Dow Chemicals for the cleaning up of the site in Bhopal. It was re-collected that the Law Ministry had taken such a stand in the Madhya Pradesh High Court. The issue of the possibility of Anderson extradition will also be taken tomorrow.
Asked whether the Planning Commission had given a Rs 982 crore plan for relief, Chidambaram said the plan panel had given its view on the Second Action Plan submitted by the Government of Madhya Pradesh. "It is a separate issue and will be considered," the Home Minister said.PTI