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German firm refuses to dispose toxic waste from Bhopal

Press Trust Of India  |  New Delhi 

In a blow to both the Centre and the Madhya Pradesh government's efforts, a German firm has refused to dispose of 350 tonnes of toxic waste from the Bhopal gas disaster site to Germany citing "uncertainties" on both the sides.

A Group of Ministers (GoM) in June had approved the proposal for disposing of 350 metric tonnes of packaged chemical waste, resulting from Bhopal gas disaster of December 1984, by German agency GIZ for a payment of Rs 25 crore.

However, there was no agreement signed between the government and GIZ for removal of the waste.

"After three months of contract negotiations between the Indian government and GIZ for the disposal of 350 metric tonnes of soil contaminated with pesticides from Bhopal, GIZ withdrew its waste disposal offer (yesterday)," a statement from the firm said. "The extensive negotiations could not be settled...The uncertainties grew on both sides. This uncertainty extended to the German public. Hazardous waste disposal through GIZ is no longer an option," it said. The firm has written to Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who heads the GoM, to inform him about its decision.

About 346 tonnes of toxic waste is lying within the premises of the erstwhile Union Carbide India Ltd at Bhopal, where the world’s worst-ever industrial disaster had taken place on the night of December 2-3, 1984.

According to government data, over Rs 3,000 crore has been given as compensation in 5,295 cases of death, 4,902 cases of permanent disability, 5,27,894 cases of minor injury and 35,455 cases related to temporary disability due to the gas tragedy.

First Published: Wed, September 19 2012. 00:30 IST