PM assures support to Bhopal gas tragedy survivors

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New Delhi, May 29 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today asserted that his Government has agreed ''in-principle'' with the demand for setting up of a special Empowered Commission to carry out medical, economic and environmental rehabilitation of the Bhopal gas victims.

He said the Government will take initiative in speedily working out the modalities for setting up such a Commission. It will be done by subsuming the various Committees on different rehabilitation aspects set up by the Supreme Court, Madhya Pradesh High Court and both the State and the Central Governments.

This was conveyed by Minister of State in the PMO Prithviraj Chauhan to a group of Bhopal tragedy survivors who had been protesting near the Jantar Mantar for the past two months.

The protestors belonging to three organisations--Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karamchari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Morcha and Bhopal Group for Information and Action, however, said they will continue their agitation as the Prime Minister did not respond to most of the demands concerning legal action against the Union Carbide and its current owner Dow Chemical Company, US.

They, however, thanked the Prime Minister for assuring his Government's support on the issue of Dow Chemical's liabilities for the toxic waste and ground water contamination in and around the Union Carbide's abandoned factory.

Mr Chauhan, who visited the dharna spot today, read out a two-page statement by the Prime Minister assuring the survivors on action to be taken by the Centre.

The Prime Minister also said that the Health Ministry will be asked to continue the research work through the Indian Council of Medical Research. This was welcomed by the Bhopal organisations.

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