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N-Bill under attack at Parliamentary panel meeting

Last Updated: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - 22:06

New Delhi: The government`s plans to bring the
controversial Nuclear Liability Bill virtually came under all
round attack with BJP and Left leaders Tuesday questioned the
need for such a move and demanded that it be withdrawn

Making submissions before the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology, Environment on Forests, BJP leader
Yashwant Sinha is understood to have contended that there was
no compulsion for the government to have a Civil Nuclear
Liability Bill.

He is believed to have argued that since the government,
which is the only operator of nuclear plants in the country,
has taken up unlimited liability there was no need to have a
liability law.

Sinha is understood to have made a strong demand that the
government come clear on whether it intends to allow private
players in the nuclear power sector.

Centre of Indian Trade Unions (CITU) leader Dipankar
Mukherjee claimed that the drafting of the Bill was a "hasty
affair" and there were several contradictions in the statement
of objects and reasons and the details mentioned in the

Mukherjee is understood to have made argued that the
liability regime could be implemented through an amendment to
the Atomic Energy Act.

Sources said that the views expressed by Sinha and
Mukherjee found favour among some members of the panel.

The Parliamentary Committee is examining the Civil
Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010 that was introduced in
the Lok Sabha on May 7 amid stiff resistance from a united

The Bill provides for maximum liability of Rs 500 crore
on the part of the operator in case of a nuclear accident.

Several parties have opposed the Bill in its present form
contending that the Rs 500 crore cap on liability to be paid by
the operator of a nuclear plant was too little.

They have also sought amendments in the Bill to make
foreign suppliers of nuclear plant components more accountable
in the event of a nuclear incident.

Top officials from the Ministry of Environment and
Forests were also grilled by the panel on the long-lasting
effects of a nuclear accident.

Earlier this month, the panel members also visited the
nuclear plants at Kalpakkam near Chennai and Tarapur near
Mumbai to get a first-hand feel of operations.


First Published: Tuesday, July 13, 2010 - 22:06

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