Meeting on final agreement for Bhopal waste disposal ends without decision

 Group of Ministers headed by P Chidambaram to take final decision now 

The meeting between the Central Pollution Control Board, Union ministry of chemicals and fertilisers and the German company offering to dispose of the hazardous waste at the defunct Union Carbide factory in Bhopal has ended inconclusively.

´╗┐The meeting on August 22 failed to address concerns raised by both India and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) over clauses the agreement draft. The matter will now to be taken to the Group of Ministers headed by P Chidambaram next week and a final decision could be reached by August 28, sources say.  

It has been over two months since a Group of Ministers at the Centre approved the proposal to airlift Bhopal’s toxic waste to Germany.

The meeting on Wednesday was a follow up of a meeting on August 17 and was convened to reach a final decision regarding the contract and proposal for the disposal of the toxic waste. The final contract of the disposal is yet to be signed and agreed upon between India and GIZ.

The Madhya Pradesh government is jittery about certain provisions in the proposal like the laws applicable in case of an accident and where the trial would be held. Also, the state government has requested that the Union government be party to the extended liability of the Madhya Pradesh government for the waste until such time that it gets incinerated.

“Discussions are under way and details cannot be disclosed,” say officials with the Central Pollution Control Board and ministry of chemicals and fertilisers. “We have to keep both German and Indian interests in mind and thus are trying to reach an agreement that is mutually beneficial. The details cannot be discussed,” says A J V Prasad, joint secretary in the ministry.

 Officials from Madhya Pradesh government refused to comment.

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