N-Bill under attack at Parliamentary panel meeting
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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under all round attack with BJP and Left leaders Tuesday questioned the need for such a move and demanded that it be withdrawn forthwith.

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 legislation.

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 opposition.

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.

PTI


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


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