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Row over N-Liability Bill: Govt promises to address concerns

The Nuclear Liability Bill was today embroiled in a fresh row with BJP and Left objecting to an amendment proposed by a Parliamentary panel on suppliers` obligation in case of an accident.



New Delhi: The Nuclear Liability Bill was
today embroiled in a fresh row with BJP and Left objecting to
an amendment proposed by a Parliamentary panel on suppliers`
obligation in case of an accident but the government sought to
allay the apprehensions of opposition parties.

The Union Cabinet meeting scheduled this evening to
consider the Bill was postponed till tomorrow, apparently to
consider the objections raised by the opposition.

BJP and Left parties raised objections to addition of a
word `and` in the Clause 17 which says that "the operator of a
nuclear installation shall have a right to recourse where --
(A) such right is expressly provided for in a contract in
writing".

The parties fear that insertion of the word dilutes the
obligations on the suppliers of equipment in case of a nuclear
accident.

Government, on its part, sought to allay apprehensions
over the recommendations of the Standing Committee, saying all
concerns would be addressed.

"I assure my friends in BJP and Left that we have already
taken their concerns on board. If there are any concerns,
there are some concerns that have been raised today, all those
concerns will be addressed in all seriousness," Minister of
State in PMO Prithviraj Chavan told reporters.

"Wait till the amendments are brought to Parliament," he
said when his attention was drawn to objections raised over
the amendments.

The report of Standing Committee on Science and
Technology, which examined the Civil Liability for Nuclear
Damages Bill 2010, proposed that the Clause 17(A) may end with
word `and`.

It also proposed modification of Clause 17(b) to say "the
nuclear incident has resulted as a consequence of latent or
patent defect, supply of sub-standard material, defective
equipment or services or from the gross negligence on the part
of the supplier of the material, equipment or services".

BJP, which had agreed with Congress on changes in the
Bill, shot off a note to the government, saying clubbing of
Clause 17(A) and (B) dilutes provisions relating to the
liability of suppliers.

BJP said adding `and` was not discussed at the Standing
Committee or at the meetings the opposition leaders had with
Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee.

BJP contended the "efficacy and utility of Clause 17 (b)
on the supplier is completely destroyed by the supplier not
agreeing to an agreement in writing. Thus, what Clause
17(b) gives as a protection to the operator, the word `and`
snatches it away".

The BJP note, handed over to Minister of State for
Science and Technology Prithviraj Chavan by party leader Arun
Jaitley, said "since the nuclear power plants are to be
operated only by the government or government companies, it
would be to our own advantage to delete the word `and`."

-PTI

From Zee News

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