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German firm won’t clear Bhopal’s toxic trash

A German firm has refused to remove 350 tonnes of toxic waste from Bhopal gas disaster site for disposal in Germany, claiming the soil was contaminated with insecticides and that the waste was not related to the world’s worst industrial accident.

The refusal may come as a blow to efforts of the centre and Madhya Pradesh government to clear off the toxic waste. A Group of Ministers [GoM] had in June this year approved removal of toxic waste, at the cost of Rs 25 crore, by German agency-GIZ IS.

The German company claimed in a statement that there are 350 tonnes of soil contaminated with insecticides. ‘This is not hazardous waste related to the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy.

‘Over the past 20 years, GIZ has taken on more than two dozen similar works in developing and emerging countries and disposed of hazardous chemicals in a way that was safe to humans and the environment,’ it said.

After three months of contract negotiations between the Indian Government and GIZ for the disposal of 350 tonnes of soil contaminated with pesticides from Bhopal, GIZ withdrew its waste disposal offer yesterday.

Negotiations between the centre and the German company collapsed after they  backed out following an uproar in Germany.

‘This uncertainty extended to the German public. Hazardous waste disposal through GIZ is no longer an option,’the company said in a statement.

The firm has written a letter to Finance Minister P Chidambaram, who heads the GoM, to inform him about its decision. However, no agreement signed between the Indian Government and GIZ for removal of the waste.
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