The Cabinet has today approved the recommendations of the GoM on Bhopal Gas Leak Disaster and their implementation in a time bound manner.
The GoM was reconstituted by the Government on 26th May 2010 to examine all the issues relating to Bhopal Gas Leak including remediation measures and make appropriate recommendations regarding relief and rehabilitation of the victims and their families.
The GoM had its meetings spread over five sessions and four days from 18th to 21st June 2010 and discussed issues relating to compensation, legal issues, extradition of Mr. Warren Anderson, Bhopal Memorial Hospital & Research Centre, other health related issues, environmental issues and the Plan of Action submitted by the Government of Madhya Pradesh.
The recommendations of the GoM approved by the Cabinet are as under:
(i) The GoM recommended ex gratia payment in the category of death to Rs.10 lakh, permanent disability Rs.5 lakh, cancer cases to Rs.2 lakh, total renal failure cases to Rs.2 lakh and temporary disability cases to Rs.1 lakh, after adjustment of compensation amount already received by the victims. Thus, more than 45,000 victims who were affected most severely by the tragedy will receive additional ex gratia payment .
(ii) Additional material in support of the request for extradition of Warren Anderson will be put together by concerned agencies and the MEA will thereafter press the request for extradition with the US Government.
(iii) A curative petition will be filed in the Supreme Court for reconsideration of its judgment dated 13.9.1996 by which the charges under the graver sections of the IPC were quashed against the accused and the trial was confined to the offence under Section 304A.
(iv) A Revision Application will be filed in the High Court under Section 397 of Cr. P.C. against the judgment of the trial court for directing the trial court to refer the case under Section 323 of Cr.P.C. to the Sessions Court to try the case for offences under Sections 304 Part II, 324, 326 and 429 read with Section 35 IPC.
(v) An appeal will be filed in the Sessions Court against the judgment of the trial court to correct the error in the sentences imposed on the accused under different Sections. The errors pertain to the term of imprisonment (Section 338), the amount of fine (Section 304A), and the direction that the sentences shall run concurrently.
(vi) The Attorney General will examine whether a curative petition could be filed in the Supreme Court for reconsideration of the compensation amount earlier settled at US $ 470 million.
(vii) Appropriate applications will be filed before the Courts concerned and request the Courts, especially the High Court, to expeditiously decide the question of liability of the Dow Chemicals Company and/ or any other successor to UCC/UCIL.
(viii) The GOI will approach the Supreme Court to allow take over of the BMHRC by the Government through the Department of Bio-technology and the Department of Atomic Energy. The Hospital should then be strengthened, up-graded and run as a super specialty and research hospital.
(ix) ICMR will establish its 31st full-fledged Research Centre inBhopal within 90 days.
(x) ICMR will start conducting epidemiological studies and clinical research in areas identified by them, including following areas :
a) Respiratory diseases;
b) Eye related diseases;
d) Total Renal failure;
e) Genetic disorders;
f) Congenital disorders;
g) Women related medical issues;
h) Second generation children related medical issues
xi) The reports of NEERI, NGRI and IICT will be subjected to a peer review by scientists jointly appointed by the Department of Science and Technology and the Ministry of Environment and Forests.
xii) The Government of MP will complete expeditiously the work relating to repairing/ re-erecting the compound wall around the UCIL premises to prevent entry and exit of unauthorized persons, children etc;
xiii) The Government of Madhya Pradesh which will have the responsibility of remediation actions, will suitably empower the Department of Gas Tragedy, Relief and Rehabilitation, including granting enhanced financial powers and fixed tenure for officers (at least up to 31.12.2012) so that the remediation and environmental cleanup is completed in a time bound manner.
xiv) An Oversight Committee will be established in the Ministry of Environment and Forests with representatives of the Ministries/Departments concerned of the GOI and the Government of Madhya Pradesh. Minister for Environment, GOI will be the Chair and the Minister of Gas Relief, GoMP, will be the co-chair. Besides, NEERI, NGRI, IICT and CPCB may be associated in a suitable capacity. The Oversight Committee will provide oversight and support to the Government of Madhya Pradesh in taking the necessary remedial actions. Ministry of Environment and Forests will notify the Oversight Committee.
xv) Government of India will bear the cost of the remediation of approximately Rs.310 crore in the first instance. Government of India will also take steps to claim restitution from the persons/companies found liable for the damage on the principle of ‘polluter pays’.
xvi) The remediation works including disposal of the stored hazardous residues, dismantling the contaminated structure and remediation of the contamination of water and soil will be taken up and completed by 31.12.2012. Government of M.P. will arrange incineration of toxic wastes stored at UCIL plant site in the incinerator at Pithampur by 31.12.2010.
xvii) In the first instance, the following components of the Plan of Action submitted by Government of Madhya Pradesh, amounting to Rs.272.75 crore will be approved and funds provided to the Government of Madhya Pradesh as additional central assistance on 75:25 basis:-
|i)||Medical Rehabilitation (all hospitals other than BMHT)||Rs.33.55 crore|
|iii)||Social Rehabilitation||Rs. 85.20crore|
|iv)||Providing safe drinking water purification of contaminated groundwater and from other sources||Rs. 50.00crore|
The above Plan of Action will result in, among others, better building and equipments for the existing 6 hospitals being run by the state government, strengthening of research activities, employment for 10,000 victims in the enterprises to be set up under the capital subsidy scheme, setting up cells for marketing and placement assistance after training of the victims, shift 2500 families living in the vicinity of plant site to multi- storyed houses in safe place, provision of modern dustbins, sulabh toilet complex, pension to 5000 widows, up- gradation of 16 schools to higher secondary and upgradation of sewage system.
The approval of the recommendations of the GoM will result in GOI providing a compensation package of approximately Rs.650-700 crore, Rs.310 crore for environmental remediation and Rs.272.75 crore for medical, economic and social rehabilitation of the gas victims. This will be in addition to Rs. 14.18 crore provided under JNNURM for piped water supply scheme for 14 localities in and around UCIL plant site, Rs. 8.11 crore for renewal of basic infrastructure in the scrap market, Rs 721 crore for water supply augmentation and distribution network improvement covering the entire city of Bhopal, 7 projects costing about Rs. 1031 crore under JNNURM and Rs. 443 crore provided for the poor localities of Bhopal, by Ministry of Urban Development and Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation. Earlier, GOI had approved an Action Plan for rehabilitation of gas victims which was implemented during 1990-99 with an outlay of Rs. 258 crore.