The following statement finally represents a full response to the 172 day ‘Walk Your Talk’ campaign begun by Bhopalis on February 20th, 2008. The object of the campaign – the longest sustained campaign by the Bhopalis yet – was fulfillment of a set of clear demands. The following statement achieves this.
You can read in detail about the three stages of the campaign at the following links: 38 day Padyatra – 73 day Dharna – 60 day Global Relay Hungerstrike
Statement to be made by the Hon’ble Minister of Chemicals and Fertilizers and Steel on 8th August, 2008 at Jantar Mantar, New Delhi before the representatives of Bhopal Gas Victims.
Edited downloadable version (word doc)
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 rehabilitation if 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 Department of C&PC 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/ views.
(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 Deptt. of C&PC 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 UCIL plant site at Bhopal
(vii) Extradition of Warren Anderson
The legal pursuit for the extradition of Warren Anderson may be expediated by the MEA with the US Authorities
(viii) Cancellation of Registration 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 FTC between Reliance and Dow Global Technologies Inc.
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.