Bhopal victims allege rehabilitation fraud

Bhopal, Jan 6 : The Bhopal gas tragedy survivors on Monday alleged that the Bhopal Gas Relief & Rehabilitation Department has robbed them of their dues worth Rs 25 crore. At a press conference on Monday, five organizations of survivors of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal presented details of alleged corruption of over Rs 20 crore by the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief & Rehabilitation Department of the Government of Madhya Pradesh in providing economic rehabilitation to the survivors.

These details were exposed through documents made available under the RTI Act.

"According to the complaint filed with the Joint Director Anti Corruption, Central Bureau of Investigation, by the survivors' organizations, more than 94 % of the payments made by Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief & Rehabilitation Department, Government of Madhya Pradesh to the training agencies were fraudulent payments," said an official release.

"These payments were made for trainees who did not complete their training or were not placed in any job by the training agencies," it said.

The allegations against the department were based on information gathered from 380 persons claimed to have been trained under the economic rehabilitation scheme.

The organizations have also complained to the CBI that close to a fourth of the names of the beneficiaries of the economic rehabilitation scheme are false, more than half of the letters offering jobs to the trainees were forged and only 6 % of the trainees received the stipend due to them.

The organizations said that as per the decision of the Group of Ministers on Bhopal in June, 2010, an amount of Rs. 104 crore was transferred to the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief & Rehabilitation Department by the central government for economic rehabilitation of the survivors.

"Out of this amount, between June 2011 and October 2013, Rs. 26 Crores have been paid to 22 training agencies by the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief & Rehabilitation Department for providing training through 133 vocational courses to survivors of the Union Carbide disaster in Bhopal and their families," said the release.

The organizations, including Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Nirashrit Pensionbhogi Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, Children Against Dow / Carbide and Bhopal Group for Information & Action, condemned the Bhopal Gas Tragedy Relief & Rehabilitation Department for its failure in providing economic rehabilitation and misappropriation of funds meant for the survivors of the Bhopal disaster.

--IBNS (Posted on 06-01-2014)

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