Several lacunae remain in `subservient` liability bill: Sinha

Last Updated: Monday, August 30, 2010 - 23:41

New Delhi: Senior BJP leader Yashwant Sinha
today said though his party had extended support to the civil
nuclear bill in Parliament, several lacunae still remain in
the "subservient" legislation which he alleged was passed in
"haste" before US President Barack Obama`s visit.

"This bill has made us subservient to the US. The bill is
going to further encumber us. It will be an act of bondage and
India will find it difficult to maintain its hard fought
freedom," Sinha said.

He was speaking at a seminar organised by the BJP CA Cell
on the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Bill, 2010.
Sinha, who held Finance and later the External Affairs
portfolios in the NDA government, said there were still some
issues which had not been fully addressed by the government.

"We wanted that the civil nuclear bill should be
India-centric. The US wants India to sign the Convention on
Supplementary Compensation (CSC) to activate it as only four
countries have signed it so far. I had also suggested that
instead of 300 SDR, we should have its rupee equivalent in the
Act," Sinha said.

He alleged that the UPA government had already given US
the right to set up two reactors in India under the
Arrangement and Procedures Agreement once the bill is passed.

"When I said this the government officials tried to
wriggle out of it....But our US ambassador Meera Shankar later
said two sites were reserved for the US and this would mean a
lot of business for them," Sinha said.
The senior leader, however, said after the Three-Mile
accident in 1978, US is not interested in setting up reactors
and prefers to be a supplier.

"US wants no liability on the material supplied. Under
CSC the suppliers go scot-free. There is complete judicial
protection to them in the US and outside," Sinha said.
He alleged that the Civil Nuclear Bill was passed
hurriedly due to US pressure.

"The Prime Minister has said there was no US pressure.
Then why hurry through it in this session. Why not wait till
the Winter session (of Parliament). There are five
legislations pending in the Standing Committee on Finance
which I head," Sinha said.

First Published: Monday, August 30, 2010 - 23:41
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