Nuclear bill in Lok Sabha likely Monday

Last Updated: Sat, Mar 13, 2010 13:20 hrs

With less than a month to go before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh goes to the US, the government is planning to introduce the contentious Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill in the Lok Sabha Monday.

The bill is likely to be introduced in the Lok Sabha Monday, said government sources here.

The passing of the bill, which seeks to limits damages to American nuclear companies in case of an accident, is a crucial step India is required to complete under the 123 civil nuclear agreement with the US.

The bill is being fiercely opposed by the Left parties and the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.

Issues relating to the remaining steps of the nuclear deal - reprocessing pact and civil liability legislation - is expected to be high on Manmohan Singh's agenda when he meets President Barrack Obama on the sidelines of the April 12-13 Nuclear Security Summit.

The completion of these steps are necessary before atomic companies of the two countries can resume nuclear commerce.

The nuclear liability bill envisages setting up a commission which will investigate and decide, if there is an accident, who was responsible for the error and fix responsibility.

The bill pegs the maximum amount of liability in case of each nuclear accident at Rs.300 crore ($60 million) to be paid by the operator of the nuclear plant.

The Obama Administration has welcomed the Indian government's decision to go ahead with the bill in parliament, saying it is 'a key move in implementation of the Indo-US civil nuclear deal'.

'We were very gratified to learn ... (about) India's intention to introduce this bill in the current session of Indian parliament,' Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia Robert Blake told the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun in an interview.

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