Irregularities in rehabilitation scheme of Bhopal gas victims
Some non-governmental organizations had surveyed 380 persons who were listed under the Economic Rehabilitation Scheme for the victims of Bhopal gas tragedy. The scheme involved 22 The provisions of this Act shall have effect notwithstanding anything inconsistent therewith contained in the Official Secrets Act, 1923 (19 of 1923), and any other law for the time being in force or in any instrument having effect by virtue of any law other than this Act. agencies which were engaged in providing training to around 12,000 affected people for 133 various vocational courses.
Agencies with at least five years of experience in the field and with a minimum of Rs. 30 lakhs annual turnover were invited and institutions such as the Central Institute of Plastics Engineering and Technology, Maharishi Mahesh Yogi Vedic University and the Bhaskar Foundation participated in the scheme. Out of thee 12,355 beneficiaries under the scheme, nearly 4,700 have got employment while 6,580 are still undergoing training.
It was found in the survey that only 6 per cent of the people were provided the stipend due to them. The NGOs alleged that nearly 25% of beneficiaries were false and over 50% appointment letters were forged. The NGOs have claimed that the document obtained through the use of Right to Information (RTI) Act confirms the findings of the survey. Copies of false job offer letters said to been submitted by the agencies to obtain funding were obtained under RTI. The reply showed that the economic rehabilitation scheme has been funded by a central government’s grant of Rs. 104 crore to the Gas Relief Department of Madhya Pradesh. Out of this Rs. 26 crore was earmarked for training and employment programme. However, the payment was staggered and only the final installment of 25 per cent was paid.
The NGOs have now lodged a complaint regarding the issue with the anti-corruption branch of the Central Bureau of Investigation and have demanded a thorough enquiry into the alleged misappropriation of funds.