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Is it PM`s ‘gift’ to US nuclear companies? asks BJP

BJP on Thursday said reports of India compromising on crucial clauses in the Nuclear Liability Act regarding fixing of liability is "worrisome".



New Delhi: BJP on Thursday said reports of India compromising on crucial clauses in the Nuclear Liability Act regarding fixing of liability is "worrisome" and alleged Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has allowed this to give a gift to American companies during his forthcoming visit to the US.

The main opposition insisted a decision on the issue should be taken after due diligence and no step should be taken that imperils the safety of Indians or compromises the nation`s security.

"The reported media observation that government is trying to compromise the importance of Section 17 (b) of the Nuclear Liability Act passed by Parliament is very worrisome and a cause of serious concern," Deputy Leader of BJP in Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad said.

He maintained that Section 17 (b) of the Nuclear Liability Act specifically fixes the responsibility of the manufacturer of nuclear reactors and provides for their liability in the event of an accident involving design or manufacturing fault.

The Opposition parties, including the Left, have been up in arms against an opinion of Attorney General Goolam Vahanvati to the Department of Atomic Energy that it is for the operator of a nuclear plant in India to decide whether it wished to exercise the "right of recourse" provided under Section 17 of the Act.

"By this, the whole liability of the manufacturer is sought to be compromised and the entire mandate of Parliament is being disobeyed," Prasad said.

He alleged this whole exercise is being done "in a hurry" before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh`s meeting with US President Barack Obama on September 27 so that the former can "give a gift" to certain US companies during his visit.

BJP spokesperson Nirmala Sitharaman charged that "due diligence" has not been done by the government on the issue and both viability and liability are being given a go-by.

PTI

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