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Dow conitnues to evade liability for Bhopal disaster

Written By Gopal Krishna on Tuesday, January 20, 2009 | 10:08 PM

Note:Theater of absurd being enacted to help Dow disown the liability for Bhopal disaster and its legacy.

On 19 January, the Supreme Court directed the Centre, Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat governments to resolve the issue relating to disposal of around 350 metric tonnes of hazardous toxic waste from the now-defunct Union Carbide India Ltd's plant in Bhopal.

The uncertainty over the fate of the toxic waste has been prevailing for more than two decades. The waste is allegedly causing air, soil and water pollution as it is lying at the plant of the Union Carbide India Ltd (now Dow Chl���������������� last 24 years.

A bench headed by Chief Justice K G Balakrishnan asked the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilisers to decide the issue with the other two states and inform the court about the final decision on February 20, the next date of hearing.

The High Court while setting aside objections raised by the Gujarat government and the Gujarat Pollution Control Board (GPCB) had directed the authorities to carry the toxic waste to Ankleshwar for disposal in the incineratou����������������nfrastructure Ltd.

The order of the High Court, which had also threatened to initiate contempt proceedings against those who objected to disposal of the toxic waste at Ankleshwar, had come on a petition by a social activist seeking direction for safe disposal of the waste.

Supreme Court has given the state government some respite on Madhya Pradesh high court's order of transporting and disposing toxic
waste at Ankleshwar.

The state government had challenged the Madhya Pradesh Hg6s���������������� the SC.

The apex court also asked them to take the advice of both the Central Pollution Control Board and Gujarat Pollution Control Board while taking an appropriate decision.

Supreme Court has also asked for the decision taken by MoC&F and representatives of Gujarat and MP to be placed before it on February 20.

"Our stand is very clear that toxic waste should be disposed of at the Pithampur disposal facility in MP. We have a letter from them that they are ready to dispose waste. This will help us in putting forth our case," says principal secretary, environment and forests, SK Nanda.

"Bhopal's toxic waste is only 350 tons and can be disposed at Pithampur. There is a backlog of about four months due to the fire at the Ankleshwar disposal facility. We have to dispose first about 10,000 tons of our own toxic waste s/1
����������������waste from outside," Nanda added.

A bench of Chief Justice K.G. Balakrishnan and Justice P. Sathxz���������������� government to convene a meeting between the two states to help them resolve the discord over disposal of the methyl isocyanate (MIC) waste in an incinerator at Ankleshwar in Gujarat.

Disregarding the Gujarat government’s objections, the Jabalpur bench of the Madhya Pradesh High Court had ordered disposal of the waste in Ankleshwar.

Last December, it also directed that the toxic waste be moved to Ankleshwar, warning of contempt proceedings if any attempt was made to stop it.

The central government counsel said that the Gujarat government had earlier given its permission for disposal of the waste, but had later retracted from its words.

The Madhya Pradesh High Court had ordered disposal of the toxic waste at Ankleshwar, taking cognizance of a report submitted by a team that visited the Ankleshwar facility on Oct 15 last year after the Gujarat government’s opposition.
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