Bhopal panel to submit report Monday

New Delhi, June 21 (Calcutta Tube) The ministerial panel on the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy is due to submit its report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh later Monday with key recommendations on addressing the wrongs in the 25-year-old disaster that killed thousands.

The Group of Ministers (GoM), led by Home Minister P. Chidambaram, met for four sessions since Friday to deliberate on the areas that require attention for providing relief to people affected by the world’s worst industrial disaster. The panel met early Monday to finalise the minutes.

In its last meeting Sunday, the panel is said to have decided to recommend a petition in the Supreme Court, seeking reconsideration of its order diluting the charges against the accused and fixing criminal liability in the tragedy.

The Supreme Court in 1996 had diluted the charges against the accused from culpable homicide not amounting to murder to negligence.

The panel also decided to recommend extradition from the US of Warren Anderson, the Union Carbide boss in 1984 when the toxic gas leak from its Bhopal plant killed and maimed thousands.

Among the key issues the GoM discussed were relief and rehabilitation of the families of victims of the gas leak on the night of Dec 2-3, 1984, when nearly 40 tonnes of methyl isocynate gas leaked out of storage tanks of the Union Carbide factory, killing an estimated 20,000 people over the years.

The panel also discussed environment-related issues, strengthening the legal framework to deal with industrial disasters, and exploring options of pressing liability claims against Dow Chemicals which bought Union Carbide in 2001.

Chidambaram, after the fourth meeting Sunday, told reporters that the panel had covered all the subjects and that he expected to send the report to the prime minister Monday.

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