Government hoodwinking nation on n-bill: BJP


New Delhi : The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Monday accused the government of trying to “hoodwink” the nation by trying to bring in amendments to the civil nuclear liability bill that would let foreign suppliers off the hook.

Support TwoCircles

“Why is the government trying to hoodwink the nation? Why is the government trying to mislead the nation? Why is the government hell bent on introducing this clause which absolves the foreign suppliers totally?,” BJP spokesperson Rajiv Pratap Rudy told reporters here Monday.

The latest contentions have arisen over the reported amendment in section 17 of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill approved by the cabinet Friday, which empowers the Indian operator of a nuclear facility to sue the foreign supplier of any defective equipment in case of a nuclear accident only if the supply was “made with the intent to cause nuclear damage”.

Rudy brandished a single page document, which he said had been included in the official packet sent out to members of the Parliamentary Standing committee on Science and Technology, which was examining the bill.

“It was unsigned, but since it was put in the official packet, we assumed it was from the government,” he said, adding that the page listed five amendments, including that of clause 17.

The BJP spokesperson said that the secretary of the Department of Atomic Energy had apologized for sending this document “by mistake”. “That day itself, the issue of intent was totally rejected by the committee,” he said.

He asserted that it will be very difficult for the BJP to support the nuclear liability bill unless the government relents and brings back the original proposed legislation.