Yechury dismisses need for cap fixed in Nuclear Liability Bill

Siliguri (West Bengal), Aug 29 (ANI): Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) politburo member Sitaram Yechury has dismissed the need for cap fixed in the Nuclear Liability Bill.

Yechury demanded a floor instead of a cap on the Nuclear Liability Bill, while talking to media persons here on Saturday.

"No, we are not fully satisfied with current form of the Nuclear Liability Bill.

We think that cap for the liability, which has been fixed at 1,500 crores is too little. Our experience of what happened with the Bhopal gas tragedy shows that in the case of a nuclear accident the damage will be much more extensive and much more dehumanising," said Yechury.

"I think we should not have a cap on the liability limit, we should have a floor.

Like many countries have floor, the cap depends on the gravity of the damage. So that is what we are asking for a change," he added.

The Civil Nuclear Liability Bill was passed in the Lok Sabha on August 25 after months of complicated negotiations and with the help of a political compromise between the government and the Opposition.

The Central Government tabled the Civil Nuclear Liability Bill and dropped a controversial amendment to a contentious clause on the liability of suppliers in case of accident in the civil nuclear damages bill, in a bid to evolve a consensus on the measure.

Minister of State for Science and Technology Prithviraj Chavan moved the Bill in the House and tabled an amendment to Clause 17(B), which now does not have the word 'intent' with regard to suppliers or their employees in causing an accident in a nuclear plant.

"The nuclear incident has resulted as a consequence of an act of supplier or his employee, which includes supply of equipment or material with patent or latent defects or sub-standard services," reads the rephrased amendment now.

The Union Cabinet cleared 18 amendments on August 20, including the one, which deals with a clause on liability of a supplier in the event of a nuclear accident.

The passage of the Bill is considered important for starting nuclear commerce between India and the international community.

Earlier, the government had listed the Bill for introduction on March 15, but had to defer it at the last moment after it realised that it did not have the requisite numbers to see its introduction in the Lok Sabha.

In the present form, the Bill limits liability to the operator for each nuclear accident at Rs 500 crore. (ANI)

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