Group of Ministers on Bhopal endorse Bhopal survivors’ demands

Govt to continue legal efforts to make Dow pay
NEW DELHI, 17 April, 2008 — Representatives of the three organizations working amongst people affected by Carbide’s poisons expressed their satisfaction with the response of the Group of Ministers (GoM) on Bhopal after their meeting with the group this afternoon. The organizations had led a march of 50 Bhopal survivors and their supporters from Bhopal to Delhi and have been on dharna in Jantar Mantar for 20 days.
The GoM assured the Bhopal delegation 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. The GoM said it would have the Law Ministry examine the draft bill prepared by the Bhopal organizations before tabling in the 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 Mr. Arjun Singh said that 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 its support for the demand of the three organizations for legal action against Dow and Carbide. Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan assured the Bhopal delegation that the Government will continue its efforts to make Dow Chemical pay the Rs. 100 crores 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 organizations currently sitting on dharna at Jantar Mantar have till date met Mr. Ram Vilas Paswan (Chemicals and Fertilisers Minister), Chief Secretary to PM Mr. T.K.A Nair, Rajya Sabha MPs Mr. Rahul Gandhi and Sandeep Dixit, the National Secretary of the Communist Party of India Mr. D. Raja, the General Secretary of All India Forward Bloc Mr Devarajan, National President of BJP Mr. Rajnath Singh, Lok Sabha MP Mr. Hanan Mollah, and Cabinet Secretary Mr. Chandrasekhar. Minister of State for the PMO Mr. Prithviraj Chavan will meet the Bhopal delegation tomorrow, 18 April.
Rashida Bee/Champa Devi Shukla. Cell: 09425688215
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmachari Sangh

Syed M. Irfan. Cell: 09329026319
Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangarsh Morcha

Satinath Sarangi/Rachna Dhingra. Cell: 9717516005
Bhopal Group for Information and Action

S3, Tulsi Towers, Patel Nagar, Sangam Talkies, Madhya Pradesh

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