PM asks GoM on Bhopal to meet immediately, report in 10 days

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi | Updated: Jun 16 2010, 02:48am hrs
As the fallout of the judgement on the Bhopal gas tragedy continues to embarrass the government, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday asked a group of ministers (GoM), headed by home minister P Chidambaram, to meet immediately and report back to the Cabinet within 10 days on the steps that can be taken to assuage the feelings of victims.

This GoM was reconstituted last week in the wake of the judgement of the trial court to discuss all outstanding issues relating to the tragedy, including those having to do with compensation and rehabilitation of victims. This GoM was headed by former Union minister Arjun Singh in the first stint of the UPA in government but was reconstituted with Chidambaram as its head since Singh is no longer part of the ministry.

The Prime Minister has directed that the group of ministers, headed by the home minister, constituted to look into all issues relating to the Bhopal gas leak disaster, may meet immediately to take stock of the situation arising out of the recent court judgement, to assess the options and remedies available to the government on the various issues involved and to report to the Cabinet within 10 days, a one line statement from the Prime Ministers Office said.

The group of ministers was scheduled to meet this Friday but sources said that following the directive from the Prime Minister, this meeting would in all likelihood be advanced now.

The judgement of the trial court, which gave the accused two years in prison, has raised a public outcry, bringing on criticism of the government for inaction and neglect of the victims of the largest industrial disaster of the world.

Besides Chidambaram, the group of ministers comprises health minister Ghulam Nabi Azad, urban development minister S Jaipal Reddy, environment and forests minister Jairam Ramesh, chemicals and fertiliser minister MK Alagiri, roads and highways minister Kamal Nath, minister for tourism and urban poverty alleviation Kumari Selja and MoS in the Prime Ministers Office Prithviraj Chavan.