Congress Party’s troubles are increasing with each passing day as new revelations from whistleblowing websites suggest the party spent around Rs 50-60 crores (about $25 million) in buying the MPs’ support for the crucial Indo-US Nuclear Deal vote in the Lok Sabha in 2008.
In a meeting between then Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon and then US Ambassador to India David Mulford, the former told the US not to tell India who to meet or not to meet. This was regarding Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s brief visit to New Delhi.
Srikumar Banerjee, Chairman, Atomic Energy Commission and ex-officio Secretary, Department of Atomic Energy, one of the drafters of the Bill is guilty of ignoring the consequences of possible nuclear disaster because his text has privatized profits and made liabilities public. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who is in-charge of Department of Atomic Energy, appears to be guilty of dereliction of duty as well.
The Report of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Science & Technology, Environment & Forests chaired by T Subbirami Reddy reveals their culpability quite categorically.
A similar civil liability bill in the US Senate could have been thrown out. The US government appears confident that it can buy this Bill as well as our parliamentarians who remain imprisoned by party whips.
The proposed Civil Liability for Nuclear Damages Bill, which was to be introduced in the current Parliament session, is an exercise to provide State subsidy to foreign-nuclear reactor builders from the onus of the financial consequences of nuclear disasters, accidents and incidents.
In case of an accident due to the equipment supplied or any other external reason (design, construction), the damages would have to be paid only by the operator of the facility and not the supplier of the equipment (nuclear reactors) or the builder of the facility.
In such a scenario, the foreign companies supplying the reactors will make profits and the state-run and public-funded NPCIL would be liable to pay the compensation in case of an accident. So, while the Indian people would get paid with their own money in case of an accident, foreign companies would make a killing.