MP must bear brunt of Bhopal clean-up effort, decides GoM

At its fifth meeting today, the reconstituted Group of Ministers (GoM) on Bhopal gas tragedy decided that Rs10 lakh would be given to those who lost their lives in India's worst industrial disaster, and that the liability of Dow Chemicals will be pursued in the Madhya Pradesh High court at its Jabalpur Bench, according to an NDTV report quoting sources.

Apart from vigorously pursuing the extradition of Warren Anderson, former chief of Union Carbide, the GoM on Sunday had focused on the clean-up of toxic waste, with an estimated expenditure of Rs 250 crore.

It decided that the Madhya Pradesh government must undertake the clean-up of the toxic waste, with funding and technical support from the centre. The entire process of decontaminating the one million tonnes of toxic waste at the site is to be completed in two to three years.

The National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI), which made a presentation at the meeting, has recommended that the decontaminated soil be buried between concrete slabs at the site itself.

After the meeting, home minister P Chidambaram told journalists that the GoM covered all the subjects identified under its mandate. ''The minutes are being drawn up. I expect to send the report to the prime minister on Monday afternoon,'' he said.

Issues regarding litigation and rehabilitation were discussed in the last two days. As widely reported, the GoM would recommend a fresh attempt to extradite the former Union Carbide chairman, Warren Anderson, and the filing of a curative petition to reverse the Supreme Court's 1996 judgment and enhance punishment.