June 25, 2010 4:19:54 am
The Union Cabinet today approved recommendations of the Group of Ministers on the Bhopal gas leak disaster that included filing of a curative petition in the Supreme Court for reconsideration of its 1996 judgment,pursuing afresh the extradition of former Union Carbide chief Warren Anderson and an enhanced compensation package for the victims.
The recommendations are to be implemented in a time-bound manner,according to a statement issued by the government after the Cabinet meeting. The GoM was reconstituted on May 26 to examine all issues relating to the Bhopal gas leak including remediation measures.
Following the Cabinet decision,victims will now receive ex gratia payment of Rs 10 lakh for death,Rs 5 lakh for permanent disability,Rs 2 lakh for cancer cases,another Rs 2 lakh for renal failure cases and Rs 1 lakh for temporary disability cases. Payments will be adjusted with compensation amounts already given to victims.
The Cabinet also decided that the CBI and other agencies would put together additional material in support of a request for extradition of Anderson which would then be pursued with the US government.
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The governments statement said a revision petition will also be filed in the High Court against the judgment of the trial court,besides a curative petition in the Supreme Court. Separately,the Attorney General would examine whether another curative petition could be filed in the apex court seeking revision of the compensation amount earlier settled at $470 million.
The liability issue with Dow Chemicals pending in the Madhya Pradesh High Court would also be vigorously pursued,the statement said. The Supreme Court would also be approached on the issue of taking over the Bhopal memorial hospital.
The responsibility of remediation has been entrusted to the Madhya Pradesh government,but an oversight committee under the Ministry of Environment and Forests would oversee implementation. The statement said that the first cost of Rs 310 crore would be borne by the government,but steps would be taken to claim restitution from the companies liable meaning Dow Chemicals.
Among other decisions,the government will also set up one national and eight regional institutes of paramedical science at a cost of Rs 1156.43 crore. The Centre will support state government medical colleges for conducting paramedical courses through a one-time grant. The move will supplement supply of skilled paramedical manpower,leading to a yearly intake capacity of 14,480 personnel in the health delivery system.
It would promote quality of paramedical training through standardisation of such education and courses across the country, Information and Broadcasting Minister Ambika Soni told reporters after the meeting.
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