August 30, 2010

Speech in Rajya Sabha on ‘The Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill, 2010’

SHRI PIYUSH GOYAL: Thank you, Sir. I just want to make two or three very brief interventions. The Bill, in its Section 3(A), states that it will apply only to nuclear installations controlled either directly or through an authority by the Central Government. But there is proviso to Section 7(i) in which they have said: “The Central Government may, by notification, assume full liability for a nuclear installation, not operated by it.” I would seek the Government’s clarification on that.

Secondly, Sir, in Section 4, they have explained that if there is any damage caused during temporary storage of the material or during transportation of the material, it will be deemed to be the operator’s liability. I am concerned about the safety aspects, especially in transit or in storage; people think that there will be a premium not to be safe. So, we should have some liability also imposed on the people who are storing and transporting, or some incidental or criminal liability should have been imposed on them.

The third point Sir, is, there is a very big concern that is being expressed by many speakers and authors, that there will be a premium to be unsafe. If there is a cost involved in making the plants more safe or if it comes to light that there could be some improvements to the plants, which will make it safer, then the operator will think that the cost is too much and the liability at Rs.1500 crores is being capped; it is much cheaper. And lastly, Sir, one small point. By limiting the liability to 300 SDRs, are we limiting the funds available under CSC to our beneficiaries? In the unfortunate event of an accident, I think, CSC could also participate beyond 300 SDRs; I do not know what the Government’s stand is.

Just one last point. In the Lok Sabha debate, the hon. Minister has mentioned that though the liability in civil jurisdiction is limited, there will be unlimited liability. Yes, it is on record; in the Lok Sabha — I heard it on T.V. — the Minister mentioned that the real liability would be unlimited and the courts of law can give any larger claim also. I would seek the Minister’s clarification on this point. Thank you, Sir.

Subscribe to Newsletter