Justice delayed is justice denied
The Central Government has decided to set up an Empowered Commission for rehabilitation of Bhopal Gas Victim nearly 24 years after the tragedy struck the Bhopal.
It also took the Government so long to admit that the tragedy affected all the wards of the Bhopal city. (The Centre has accepted the Madhya Pradesh Government recommendation to declare the remaining 20 wards of the city as “gas affected”. The residents of Bhopal have also been promised to implement a remediation plan to clean up lethal waste from the city.
The promises came after a 72-day, 500-mile march to New Delhi and two-month hunger strike by victims and their supporters.
The belated promises do not increase one’s trust on the rule of law and justice. The victims had sought justice from various courts including the highest court of the land. However, elected governments would have to finally bow to the demands of the organisations of survivors give some hope about democracy in the country.
Though on a smaller scale, the plight of the endosulfan victims at Kasaragod district of Kerala is no different. Substantial aid for medical treatment and rehabilitation is still to reach victims thought the district panchayat had started implementing a project two years ago. None had been held accountable for aerial spraying pesticides over populated areas unnecessarily. Like in the cases of Bhopalis, the victims in most of the endosulfan affected villages are yet to get protected water supply.
Statement to be made by the Hon’ble Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers and Steel Ram Vilas Paswan on August 8, 2008 at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi.
The Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted to oversee the matters related to
Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster, in its meeting held on 11th June, 2008, had
taken certain important decisions. Based on these decisions, the following
action has been/ is being taken by the Government.
(i) Plan of Action for rehabilitationof Bhopal Gas Victims
The government of M.P. has submitted a Memorandum on the Plan of
Action for the rehabilitation of the gas victims and their families,
with estimates amounting to Rs. 982.75 crore. The Dept. of Chemicals&
Petrochemicals, Ministry of Chemicals has forwarded the Action Plan to
the Planning Commission for their comments and would thereafter be
placed before the GoM, for further necessary action.
(ii) Declaration of remaining 20 wards of Bhopal as ‘ gas affected’
The request of the Govt. of M.P. for declaring the remaining 20 wards
of Bhopal as Gas affected was not agreed to by the GoM. However, the
GoM decided that the Government of M.P. may take an appropriate
decision to allow free treatment and availability of medicines to the
people of the 20 unaffected wards, in the Government Hospitals,
without prejudice to the benefits and entitlements of the recognized
gas victims in 36 ‘gas affected’ wards.
(iii) Setting up of an Empowered Commission for rehabilitation of Bhopal Gas Victims:
The GoM decided that the Department of C&PC would prepare a Draft
Proposal on the Terms of Reference , modalities, functions, powers,
headquarters and other related requirements for setting up of the
proposed Empowered Commission. A draft Resolution/ Executive Order,
after approval of the Minister of C&F and S and the Chairman of the
GoM, has been circulated to the Ministries/ Departments concerned of
the Government of India and the Government of M.P., for comments/
(iv) Continuation of Medical Research by ICMR
The ICMR should resume the research work which was stopped in the year
1994 and give its recommendations for the right line of treatment for
different medical problems faced by the gas victims and their
families. the Department of Health Research, Ministry of Health and
Family Welfare, has been requested to take further necessary action.
(v) Application of the Dept. of Chemicals& Petrochemicals, Ministry of Chemicals filed in the High Court of M.P. in W.P. No. 2802 of 2004 (Alok Pratap Singh vs Union of India & Others)
The Department of C & PC would not withdraw its application filed in the High Court of
Madhya Pradesh requesting the Court to direct Respondents No. 4 to 6,
in the P.I.L filed in W.P. No. 2802 of 2004, to deposit Rs. 100 crore
as advance for environmental remediation of the former UCIL plant site
at Bhopal. The outcome of the matter pending before the High Court of
Madhya Pradesh may be awaited in this regard.
(vi) Offer of Sh. Ratan Tata to set up Site Remediation Fund to clean UCIL Plant site
The offer of Shri Ratan Tata is not acceptable in its current form as
it is a conditional offer to absolve Dow Chemicals Company from the
liability for environmental remediation of the former Union Carbide
India Limited plant site at Bhopal.
(vii) Extradition of Warren Anderson
The legal pursuit for the extradition of Warren Anderson may be
expediated by the Ministry of External Affairs with the US
(viii) Cancellation of Registeration of Pesticides of Dow obtained by payment of bribes
The CBI has been directed to expediate its report on the
investigations into the alleged payment of bribes to the officials of
Ministry of Agriculture by Dow for obtaining the registration of four
pesticides, including Dursban
(ix) Environmental Remediation of the Former UCIL Plant site at Bhopal
The Government of India and the Government of M.P. may go ahead with
the implimentation of the Roadmap for the environmental remediation of
the former UCIL Plant site at Bhopal
(x) Review of approval of Federal Trade Commission(FTC)between Reliance and Dow Global
As the representative of the concerned Ministry was not present for
the meeting of the GoM, therefore, the views of the Minsitry were not
available for the GoM to take a holistic view in the matter related to
approval of FTC. The GoM deferred a decision on the issue.