15 June : The reconstituted Group of Ministers (GoM) on the Bhopal gas tragedy will meet on Friday, Home Minister P Chidambaram on Tuesday said, a day after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh asked the panel to submit its report to the Cabinet in 10 days.
“The GoM will meet on the afternoon of 18th June,” Chidambaram told reporters after his briefing on a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs.
Asked whether former Union Carbide CEO Warren Anderson’s extradition will be part of the GoM discussion, Chidambaram said he has no idea about the nature of the deliberations that will take place.
“I have no idea. Let us see what papers are circulated by the Ministry of Chemicals and Petro-Chemicals. They have promised to circulate papers by tomorrow. Let us see what issues are raised by them. And then we will decide whether any additional issues are to be addressed,” he said.
The Prime Minister had on Monday asked the nine-member GoM headed by Chidambaram to meet immediately and report to the Cabinet within 10 days.
The GoM, set up last week, has been asked to assess the options and remedies available to the government in the light of the Bhopal court’s verdict in the gas tragedy case.
The GoM was reconstituted to go into a range of issues including the relief and rehabilitation of victims and their families.
The Prime Minister’s decision came even as the BJP and the Congress engaged in a fresh war of words on the issue.
Senior Congress leader Arjun Singh, who was Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister in 1984, has maintained a stoic silence over why Anderson was allowed to leave the country soon after the tragedy.
Nearly 26 years after the disaster left over 15,000 dead, former Union Carbide India Chairman Keshub Mahindra and six others were sentenced to two years imprisonment by a Bhopal court last week.