NATIONAL POLITICS: Nuclear Liability bill tabled, BJP says government is hustling Parliament – “We should not allow the US to dictate things” – Darjeeling MP Hon’ble Jaswant Singh.
From NDTV Correspondent
New Delhi, August 25, 2010 17:38 IST: The Bharatiya Janata Party has urged the government not to rush the passage of the Nuclear liability bill in Parliament. Speaking in the Lok Sabha where the bill was tabled today, BJP’s Jaswant Singh said, “We should not allow the US to dictate things. The government has not been candid enough and is trying to hustle the bill through.”
“Please accept the amendments that we have moved, we need to live with the head held high. Please give country, people what is due. We have to consider suppliers liability with caution. Why are you hustling Parliament and everyone? It is clause 17 b which is the bone of contention. We will examine the amendments brought in by the government,” added Singh, saying that the BJP appreciates the government’s efforts to address their concerns, but the government should not try to pass the bill in hurry before President Obama’s visit to India in November.
Earlier, Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs, Prithviraj Chavan tabled the bill, after the government dropped the controversial ‘intent’ clause in the bill which says that the nuclear suppliers are only liable if they intend to cause nuclear damage.
“We are not very happy but we have accepted some amendments moved by the BJP. We have accepted the concerns of my friends in the SP, left who were insisting that this bill must say upfront that only public sector companies be allowed in the field of nuclear power. This is precisely what we have accepted and put up front in the bill. The preamble has been strengthened to say that it is a prompt compensation limit, that there will be no litigation allowed and the victim will get prompt compensation straightaway,” said Chavan as he tabled the bill.
He added that the bill has been brought in the House with 18 amendments, with the consent and consensus of various political parties and other groups. Chavan, however, admitted that the Left parties still had some concerns.
The controversy over the Nuclear Liability Bill boils down to one question: How much will the suppliers of nuclear equipment be liable to pay up if there is a nuclear disaster?
There is also confusion over whether there is any cap on liability for suppliers. While the bill doesn’t mention any, legal experts say that in effect the Rs. 1,500 crore cap on operators will be the cap on suppliers, as only the operator can ask the supplier to pay damages and the operator cannot ask for more than their own cap of Rs. 1,500 crore.
With India likely to order 25 nuclear plants, the world waits eagerly to see what condition India sets as it will set the standard for the rest of the world in the future.
Sonia, Rahul to visit with eye on polls – not understanding the age-old Gorkha Statehood call for a peaceful & permanent Indian identity solution ?!!
From The Statesman
KOLKATA, 24 AUG 2010: Eyeing the Assembly poll in 2011, Mr Rahul Gandhi will visit the state twice in September and Mrs Sonia Gandhi will be attending the AICC convention on eastern region.
Apart from Mr Gandhi’s visit, PCC chief Dr Manas Bhuinya has organised several programmes in August and September to launch a membership drive targeting young voters. He said today that the PCC will organise a rally at Saheed Minar in the first week of September and a brigade of young ministers – Mr Sachin Pilot, MoS IT and Communication, Mr Jitin Prasada, MoS Petroleum and Natural Gas will also share the dais with Mr Gandhi.
Dr Bhuinya said that apart from this meeting Mr Gandhi may visit several districts in the state in the second week of September to motivate the youths. Mr Gandhi is travelling across the nation to launch a membership drive.
Dr Bhuinya today held a meeting with all newly elected district presidents MLAs and MPs and declared some programmes from 26 August to 1 September. PCC chief has asked all the district presidents that it is mandatory for them to launch a massive membership drive.
The PCC will hold a rally from Cooch Behar on 26 August in north Bengal to Keshpur on 1 September and fomer Indian captain Md Azharuddin MP and film star Raj Babbar will also attend certain meetings. sns