PMO statement 29 May, 2008

STATEMENT TO BE READ OUT TO REPRESENTATIVES OF BHOPAL GAS VICTIMS AND GIVEN TO THE MEDIA BY SHRI PRITHVI RAJ CHAVAN, MOS (PMO)

The Prime Minister has authorised me to say:

On the demand for setting up a specially Empowered Commission to carry out medical, economic and environmental rehabilitation of Bhopal Gas victims –

The central Government is “in principle” agreement with this demand. The Central Government will take the initiative in speedily working out the modalities for setting up such a Commission by subsuming the various Committees on different rehabilitation aspects set up by Supreme Court, the Government of India, The Government of M.P. and the high court of M.P. This will be done in consultation and the concurrence of the government of M.P. and the concerned courts of law.

Separately the Government of MP is being asked to prepare a detailed plan of Action for schemes for rehabilitation of the Bhopal gas victims with estimates of funds required. The Central Government will examine this speedily and sympathetically as soon as this received.

In the meanwhile, the Central Government has decided the upgrade the Coordination Committee set up in Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals, to be now chaired by the Secretary, Government of India.

On the demand for provision of clean drinking water from unpolluted sources in the 14 localities situated near the Union Carbide plant

The UPA Government has already sanctioned a project under Jawaharlal Nehru National Urban Renewal Mission at an estimated cost of Rs. 14.18 crore to the Bhopal Municipal Corporation for providing safe drinking water through pipelines from the Kolar Reservoir to the 14 localities around the UCIL plant site. The Government of M.P. has informed us that the work has been started and is likely to be completed by the end of this year. The Central Government will also monitor the progress.

On the demand for continuing medical research on the adverse effects of the gas leakage on the health of surviving gas victims and their descendants –

The Union Ministry of health and Family welfare will be asked to continue the research work through the Indian Council of Medical research.

On the demand for taking legal action against Dow Chemicals for environmental and health damage and soil and water contamination

This matter is pending before the High Court of Madhya Pradesh. The Department of Chemicals and Petrochemicals has already filed an application requesting the Court to direct Dow Chemicals Company, and associated companies, to deposit Rs 100 crore as advance for environmental remediation. The Central Government will take further action as per the decision of the courts.

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