GoM to submit Bhopal gas tragedy report

GoM to submit Bhopal gas tragedy report

New Delhi: The Group of Ministers (GoM) probing the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy amid renewed outrage over the world’s worst industrial disaster were due Monday to submit a new report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

The panel of ministers met last week after a court gave prison sentences of just two years to eight Indian executives found guilty of negligence.

The disaster unfolded when a pesticide plant in Bhopal city owned by US company Union Carbide spewed around 40 tonnes of toxic gas into surrounding residential areas.

According to the government, 3,500 lives were lost in the immediate aftermath. Activists and rights group say 25,000 people died in the years that followed.

The ministers’ panel convened after the court sentencing on 7 June caused widespread public fury -- much of it focused on American former CEO Warren Anderson who fled India soon after the disaster.

Topics likely to be included in the report include compensation levels for Bhopal victims and continued pollution caused by delays in cleaning up the factory in the central state of Madhya Pradesh.

Television reports said ministers may again seek the extradition of Anderson -- though such efforts are thought unlikely to succeed.

“We are not optimistic but hope the government does not disappoint us. Mistakes have to be rectified," Satinath Sarangi of the Bhopal Group of Information and Action told AFP.