GoM endorses Bhopal survivors' demand

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New Delhi, Apr 18 (UNI) Representatives of three organisations working among people affected by Carbide poisoning today expressed their satisfaction with the response of the Group of Ministers (GoM) on Bhopal, following their meeting with them last evening.

A delegation of the organisations, who had led a march of 50 Bhopal survivors and their supporters from Bhopal to Delhi and have been on dharna in Jantar Mantar for last 20 days, were assured by the GoM that it would endorse and forward the Bhopalis' demand for a special commission to address rehabilitation, and for legal action against Dow and Carbide, to the Prime Minister, sources in the organisation said.

The GoM said it would have the Law Ministry examine the draft bill prepared by the Bhopal organisations before tabling in Parliament. The GoM also emphasized that it has never conceded the Madhya Pradesh Government's request for inclusion of 20 additional municipal wards in Bhopal as gas-affected. The Group clarified that it had requested the MP Government to submit data regarding gas-related deaths and injuries in the 20 wards. But no such data has been submitted till date, it said.

GoM chairman and Human Resources Minister Arjun Singh said a special commission for Bhopal is justified despite the lack of precedent for any such commission, because the Bhopal disaster itself is of an unprecedented nature.

The GoM also expressed support for the demand of the three organisations for legal action against Dow and Carbide. Union Minister for Chemicals and Fertilisers Ram Vilas Paswan assured the Bhopal delegation that the government will continue its efforts to make Dow Chemical pay the Rs 100 crore as advance for environmental remediation.

Mr Paswan also admitted that after the recent fire incident at a toxic waste facility in Ankleshwar that was destined to receive Bhopal wastes, any attempts to send wastes anywhere else in India will be met with opposition from local residents.

Representatives from the three organisations currently sitting on dharna at Jantar Mantar have till date met Paswan, Chief Secretary to PM T K A Nair, Amethi MP Rahul Gandhi and Sandeep Dixit, the National Secretary of the Communist Party of India D Raja, the General Secretary of All India Forward Bloc Devarajan, BJP supremo Rajnath Singh, Lok Sabha MP Hanan Mollah and Cabinet Secretary Chandrasekhar.


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