Thursday, July 8, 2010

Oversight committee to monitor Bhopal clean- up

Government forms panel to clean up Bhopal
NEW DELHI: The Centre on Wednesday constituted an oversight committee to co-ordinate and monitor activities related to waste disposal, decontamination and remediation at the Union Carbide factory in Bhopal. Headed by Union environment minister Jairam Ramesh and Madhya Pradesh minister for relief and rehabilitation Babulal Gaur, the panel will ensure that all requisite technical, financial and other support is available to the state government and its authorities.

The primary responsibility for the removal of the toxic waste from the now defunct Union Carbide plant, soil and ground water remediation, and detoxification and dismantling of the defunct plant will be that of the state government. The 16-member oversight committee will ensure requisite technical, financial, logistical and other support is available to the state government and its authorities at all times while remedial action is taken.

The state environment minister; secretaries of the Union ministries of environment, chemicals and petrochemicals, and science and technology; secretary, department of Bhopal gas tragedy relief and rehabilitation; and principle secretary for finance in the Madhya Pradesh government are members of the committee. Other officials on the committee are the commissioner of Bhopal, additional secretary and finance advisor in the Union environment ministry and the joint secretary in charge of hazardous substance management.

Directors of National Environmental Engineering Research Institute, National Geophysical Research Institute and Indian Institute of Chemical Technology, and the chairmen of the Central Pollution Control Board and the Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board are the technical experts on the committee.

The Centre will spend around Rs 310 crore for environmental remediation in and around the disaster site where the hazardous material continues to pollute ground water and soil on a massive scale more than 25 years after the industrial mishap.
Government forms panel to clean up Bhopal
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I want to do something for Bhopal victims: Ex-Union Carbide chairman Mahindra
Former Carbide chief was to get Padma in 2002
Is the Oversight committee an adjunct to an Anomaly committee analogous to deception per se?
An oversight committee can have an impact on the quality and fairness of fact-finding even before the committee gains access to the relevant information. When research is done in the knowledge that an outside entity will be reviewing the research methods and findings, there is an increased sense of accountability. Government or corporate research entities must ensure the standard of their work is acceptable, especially because in the long run it will be more costly and time-consuming if they are forced to go back and correct mistakes when an oversight committee detects errors or deceptions. However, oversight committees must seek to avoid what is called "analysis paralysis," the tendency to want to analyze something forever, in an effort to eliminate all uncertainty before making a decision. Since uncertainty is unavoidable in many scientific inquiries, it is important that oversight committees recognize when the best available research strategies are used, and accept the results from that research as the best obtainable at the time. This allows decisions to be made and actions taken in a timely manner. Will the clean up of Bhopal be based on scientific analysis or whims and fancies of Bureaucrats and Politicians who can make a sizable buck from the clean up funds amounting to about Rs 400 crores!

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