Friday, April 16, 2010

Left Parties Opposition To Nuclear Liability Bill Benefiting US

Left parties, which made an unsuccessful attempt to topple the government with the aim to stop the Indo-US civil nuclear deal, have appealed to all parties opposing the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Bill to get united. Left parties have said that the government is in a hurry to bring this bill in an attempt to provide relief to US nuclear companies. The Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), Communist Party of India (CPI), Forward Bloc, and Revolutionary Socialist Party said that the government is taking this step under US pressure, and all parties would jointly oppose the same.

123 Agreement With United States
The Left Front had expressed the resolve to stop the 123 Agreement with the United States until the last moment. CPI-M general secretary Prakash Karat has continuously declared to use every political avenue for the purposes. In this situation, Karat has once again intensified the campaign to oppose the nuclear liability bill, which is considered an important stage before clinching the nuclear deal.

When Karat started counting his objections to the nuclear liability bill in the Left Front's press meet organized at the CPI-M headquarters, his intention was to prove the bill as anti-national, so that parties supporting it become uneasy.

Endangering People's Lives and Property
Karat said the government is in a hurry to bring this bill so that US companies supplying nuclear reactors do not suffer any financial burden in the event of a nuclear accident, as this burden would fall upon Indian taxpayers. Karat accused that the government was trying to give concessions to US companies in this clandestine manner, putting the burden on government exchequer. At the same time, CPI-M leader Karat and CPI leader A.B. Bardhan accused the government of trying to bring this kind of bill, endangering the lives and property of citizens of the country.

It is certainly shocking that the government is trying to bring in a legislation that absolves foreign reactor companies from the liability of compensation, but puts the burden on the government. This means that this bill puts the burden on the taxpayers' pockets.

Ignoring People's Interests
Finding fault with the bill, Prakash Karat also said that the provision for compensation in the bill is only for accident caused deliberately or due to carelessness. If an accident occurs because of manufacturing problem, there is no provision for any compensation in the bill. Karat said that it became clear from this that the government was keen on this bill to encourage private nuclear energy plants and to provide benefit to US suppliers, ignoring people's interests.

Karat said the government should send a delegation to Hiroshima and Nagasaki so that it came to know that even after six decades, how people were still suffering today. The government might understand something by looking at the condition of a sizable population of Japan suffering from genetic problems due to nuclear radiation.

Mixed Reaction
This bill is unholy, said Prakash Karat taking a dig at the Congress, which called the coming together of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Left parties against the bill as an unholy alliance. When asked about this Congress party allegation, Karat said that first this bill is unholy. This question was raised over his appeal to all parties to come together against the bill.
Otherwise also, during the Parliamentary budge session, the Left parties appear to be standing alongside the BJP on several important issues. The BJP and Left parties were together in support of the Women's Reservation Bill, and they also appear to be standing together against price rise. Now, the Left parties and BJP have joined their voices in opposing the nuclear liability bill.

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