Government closer to signing deal to dispose of Bhopal waste

Most differences over clauses in the contract with GIZ to airlift waste to Germany for incineration resolved at GoM meeting

By Moyna
Last Updated: Saturday 04 July 2015


The proposal of German development agency Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) to dispose of the 350 tonnes of toxic waste lying at the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal has finally started moving forward. On August 27, representatives of the agency, which has offered to incinerate the waste at a facility in Germany, met the group of ministers (GoM) set up to look into matters related to the 1984 gas leak disaster in Bhopal.

The GoM headed by Union finance minister P Chidambaram had approved the GIZ proposal in June, but it was followed by weeks of indecision. The contract for airlifting the waste is yet to be signed because of differences between the Madhya Pradesh Government and GIZ over provisions in the proposed contract. The government has not taken final decision despite directives and orders from the apex court in May.

Modifications in the proposed contract

Both government and GIZ termed the meeting held yesterday as “very positive”; they said the final contract will be signed very soon after which work to remove the waste can begin. 
Praveer Krishna, Madhya Pradesh's principal secretary for public health and family welfare as well as Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief and Rehabilitation cell, said that the draft contract has been “approved with some modifications”. He said the Madhya Pradesh government had suggested a few changes and modification to the GIZ proposal, and that these were accepted at the meeting.

Krishna said the modifications included concerns regarding arbitration, city of dispute resolution and responsibilities of GIZ. He added, “We would like GIZ to share some liability.”

Once the contract is signed, the GIZ proposal states, it would take approximately a year to airlift and incinerate the waste as there are numerous permissions, analyses and clearances required from the German side. Hans Hermann Dube, regional manager for GIZ, said most issues relating to the legal contract have been resolved and the remaining will be sorted out soon enough.” He added that in case there is dispute between the authorities and agencies involved, they would be resolved in Singapore under international law.


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