Par panel set to recommend doubling of N-liability to Rs 1000 cr

In a move aimed at addressing concerns of opposition parties over Nuclear Liability Bill, a Parliamentary Committee is set to recommend doubling of the compensation cap to Rs 1000 crore.

Last Updated: Aug 03, 2010, 23:02 PM IST

New Delhi: In a move aimed at addressing
concerns of opposition parties over Nuclear Liability Bill, a
Parliamentary Committee is set to recommend doubling of the
compensation cap to Rs 1000 crore and press for liability of
suppliers of material to atomic power plants in India.

The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and
Technology, which has held marathon deliberations on the
controversial Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill 2010, is
expected to present its report to Parliament on August 9.
Sources said the Committee is expected to recommend that
the cap for compensation in the case of a nuclear accident
should be enhanced to Rs 1000 crore from Rs 500 crore, which
was proposed in the bill.

The Committee, headed by Congress MP T Subbirami Reddy,
is also expected to recommend that there should be adequate
provision for the liability of the supplier of material to the
atomic plants in India, they said.

These have been the key issues of concern raised by the
opposition parties, including BJP and Left. They have been
resisting the proposed law, accusing the government of trying
to benefit the foreign suppliers.

The Committee is also likely to suggest extend the period
of victims claiming damages from the current upto 10 years
from the time of a nuclear incident to more than 15 years.

Clause 18 of the Bill states that the right to claim
compensation for any nuclear damade caused by a nuclear
incident shall extinguish if such a claim is not made within a
period of 10 years from the date of incident.

During the marathon meeting of the committee today,
Rajendra Badwe, Director of the Tata Memorial Centre, is
understood to have said that the full effects of cancer caused
due to exposure to radiation take 10-15 years to be known.

The final meeting of the Committee is scheduled to be
held on August five when clause-by-clause analysis of the Bill
will be taken up. Prior to this, one hour has been set aside
to hear the views of the Secretaries from the ministries of
Labour, Agriculture, Environment, Health and Law.

The Committee had a four-and-a-half hour marathon meeting
today and members had expressed the desire to have "litte more
clarification" from government officials before going into the
clause-by-clause analysis.

Meanwhile, Indian insurance companies have expressed
readiness to provide insurance cover to nuclear facilities
upto Rs 400 crore and the balance would be arranged from
foreign companies.
The Committee has held 25 meetings to deliberate on the
Bill. Secretaries from 16 government departments, experts in
law, environment, nuclear science, representatives of
industry, NGOs and trade unions have appeared before it.

A section of the Committee members have underlined that
the passage of the Bill was crucial for international civil
nuclear cooperation and not just to benefit American
companies.

PTI