Greenpeace wants govt to review N-liability bill

Greenpeace says the bill allows foreign corporations to get away by paying a meagre compensation.

New Delhi: Greenpeace is collecting signatures to force the government to review the nuclear liability bill which it says allows foreign corporations to get away by paying a meagre compensation in case of a nuclear accident.

With already over 1.8 lakh signatures online, the petition will be forwarded to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, requesting him to stop the bill in its current form and review it.

"The proposed nuclear liability bill appeases foreign corporations by allowing them to get away by paying a meagre compensatory amount in case of a nuclear accident, which is not fair," reads the petition.

It alleged that the government was only considering cosmetic changes in the bill.

Drawing a parallel with the Bhopal gas tragedy of 1984, the petition said: "The Bhopal judgment highlights the manner in which an American corporation has been so easily let off after causing the deaths of over 25,000 people and affecting thousands more.”

"India must hold a public consultation before changing the liability rules for any nuclear accidents caused by US corporations."

A Bhopal court on June 07 sentenced seven former employees of Union Carbide Indian Ltd to two years imprisonment for culpability in the tragedy and quickly bailed them. The ruling has triggered a furore.

The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, which has been referred to the Parliament`s standing committee on science and technology after fierce opposition from political parties, fixes the maximum amount of liability in case of a nuclear accident at Rs 500 crore, to be paid by the operator of the nuclear plant.

The legislation makes the operator exclusively liable in case of an accident but there is no mention of the suppliers` liability.

These provisions have prompted parallels with the Bhopal tragedy. Lethal gas had leaked from a Union Carbide pesticide plant in Bhopal on the night of December 02-03, 1984, killing thousands instantly and many more later.


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