Bhopal Gas Tragedy verdict unsatisfactory: Jairam Ramesh

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New Delhi, June 8 (ANI): Expressing dissatisfaction over the Bhopal Gas Tragedy verdict, Union Minister of State for Environment and Forests Jairam Ramesh on Tuesday said a green tribunal will be set up by the year-end to ensure that the victims of such disasters get speedy relief.

"It is a matter of deep anguish for me personally. It has taken so long, and the verdict is clearly very unsatisfactory from every point of view and has caused understandable furore, particularly among the people who have been affected by the tragedy," said Ramesh.

Ramesh said the Environment Protection Act would ensure a Bhopal-like tragedy does not happen again.

"The Environment Protection Act has to be implemented at the earliest without fear or favour. The National Green Tribunal will be based in Bhopal, so the city's association with Union Carbide is diminished," said Ramesh.

The Tribunal is a judicial body to deal exclusively with environment laws and give citizens a right to environment.

On Monday, a District Magistrate's Court in Bhopal convicted all eight accused on of negligence under Section 304 (a) for the tragedy.

The court also granted bail to seven of the eight accused and released them on submission of a bond and a surety of Rs 25,000 each.

The eight accused are Keshub Mahendra, Vijay Gokhle, Kishore Kamdar, J Mukund, S P Choudhary, K V Shetty and S I Qureshi and R B Roy Choudhary.

Out of the accused R B Roy Choudhary, then former Assistant Works Manager Union Carbide India Ltd (UCIL), Mumbai, died during the trial. Warren Andreson, the chairman of Union Carbide Worldwide, has been designated as absconder.

The FIR in the tragedy was filed on December 3, 1984 and the case was transferred to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on December 6, 1984. The CBI filed the charge sheet after investigation on December 1, 1987.

In the early hours of December 3, 1984, around 40 metric tonnes of toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked into the atmosphere and was carried by wind to surrounding slums.

The government says around 3,500 died in the disaster. Rights activists, however, claim that 25,000 people have died so far. (ANI)

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