15 September, 2005
For the first time in nearly a decade, the infamous Union Carbide Corporation has responded to a notice served by courier under the order of the Jabalpur High Court, Madhya Pradesh, in a case about liability and modalities of remediation of Union Carbide’s contamination in Bhopal.
In an earlier hearing, the High Court had directed NGOs and survivor organisations to use their considerable expertise to submit a detailed road-map and workplan for containment and remediation of toxic wastes, contaminated soils and structures, and contaminated groundwater in and around the Union Carbide factory site.
At a hearing held on 15 September, 2005, Justices Mr. Sushilkumar Pande and Ms. Wagmare of the Jabalpur High Court declined to hear arguments because they had taken over the case only recently and needed time to go through the original petition and other case documents.
The Court accepted the road-map and related documents filed by the NGOs. The Court also accepted NGOs’ request for easy access to the factory after NGOs complained that the State had put up numerous obstacles to accessing the site, and hence had made their task of presenting a well-research remediation plan difficult. The Court directed the District Collector to grant full access to the Union Carbide site to at least 5 people from among the NGOs.
Separately and most signficantly, the Court indicated that it had received a response from Union Carbide Corporation requesting 6 weeks time to file a reply. Granting the request, the Court has adjourned the matter to October 29, by which a response from the elusive Union Carbide is expected.
For International Campaign for Justice in Bhopal
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