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  • N-bill headed for further delays

    Published on August 12, 2010

    The controversial nuclear liability bill is headed for further delay in view of lack of consensus in the Parliamentary panel which is examining it.

     The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science and Technology was to submit its report to Parliament on Thursday but decided to defer it by a week as it failed to bridge the differences among members on the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Bill, 2010.

     The BJP has demanded a complete re-draft of the Bill and raised questions over key provisions including a cap on the compensation to be paid in event of a nuclear accident and acceding to the Convention on Supplementary Compensation.

     It had also demanded a ‘no fault compensation regime’ with payouts to be decided by the Claims Commissioner and a bar on private sector operators for nuclear power plants.

     Top BJP leaders, including L K Advani, Sushma Swaraj, Arun Jaitley, Yashwant Sinha, Jaswant Singh, Murli Manohar Joshi put across these demands at a meeting with Leader of the House Pranab Mukherjee.

     This was the first political dialogue on the issue since the Bill was introduced in the Lok Sabha on 7th May.

     T Subbirami Reddy, Chairman of the Committee also met Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and is understood to have briefed him on the progress on the Bill.

     Singh is believed to have asked Reddy to sort out the differences with the opposition amicably.

     “The committee cannot hustle through the proceedings,” Jaswant Singh told reporters after the meeting with Mukherjee.

     The Committee was to meet on Wednesday to adopt the Bill and was expected to submit its report either tomorrow or the day after to Rajya Sabha Chairman Hamid Ansari.

     Meanwhile, Reddy said Wednesday’s meeting was postponed and he had sought an extension for a week for the Committee to submit its report on the Bill.

     The Committee is now expected to meet on Monday, 16th August to finalise its report and submit the same to Parliament two days later.