Bhopal, June 5: Union Home Minister P Chidambaram, who is heading the Group of Ministers (GoM) looking into the Bhopal Gas tragedy, met both victims and activists here today.
Law and Justice Minister Salman Khurshid and Minister of State (Mos) in the Prime Minister’s Office V Narayanasamy also accompanied Chidambaram.
The state government is expected to update Chidambaram about a German firm’s proposal to airlift the toxic waste to that country for safe disposal. n May 11, the Supreme Court had asked the GoM on Bhopal to decide expeditiously on the disposal of 350 tonnes of toxic waste of the Bhopal Gas tragedy. In its reply, the Centre informed the court that the GoM is yet to take a final decision on this issue.
Meanwhile, activists have raised concerns over the government’s failure in disposing the toxic waste lying at the site of the Union Carbide factory for the past 28 years.
Expressing concern over the issue, Nawab Khan of the Bhopal Gas peedit Mahila Purush Sangarsh Morcha (BGPMPSM), revealed that nearly 20,000 metric tonnes of toxic waste is lying in the open in Bhopal, posing a health hazard to locals.
“Nearly ten thousand metric tonnes of toxic waste is lying unattended at the site of the Union Carbide’s 68 acre plot, while ten thousand metric tonnes of toxic waste is lying near another site very close to the factory. These toxic waste sites are responsible for the pollution in Bhopal. Even before the tragedy, people of the region were forced to consume water that was highly polluted due to the factory’s toxic waste. Nobody is now concerned with how to dispose off the toxic chemicals that are lying in the open at both these sites,” Khan said.
In the early hours of December 3, 1984, around 40 metric tonnes of toxic methyl isocyanate (MIC) gas leaked into the atmosphere from the plant of Union Carbide and the breeze carried the lethal gas to the surrounding slums.
The government says around 3,500 died because of the disaster. Activists, however, calculate that 25,000 people died in the immediate aftermath and the years that followed. (ANI)