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’Objections to the proposed civil nuclear liability [cap] bill’ - CNDP letter to India’s Prime Minister

by CNDP, 16 December 2009

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To

Dr. Manmohan Singh
- Hon’ble Prime Minister,
- Government of India,
- South Block, New Delhi.

Sub: Appeal against the Proposed Civil Nuclear Liability [Cap] Bill

Respected Sir,

We, the undersigned, on behalf of the Coalition for Nuclear Disarmament and Peace (CNDP), hereby express our grave concern that though media reports as regards the above Bill are regularly making rounds for quite a while, there is as yet no official word on it despite its profound likely implications.

We would, in this context like to put on record, our strong apprehensions that the proposed Bill is meant to open the Indian nuclear market for the US companies at the cost of the potential Indian victims of an accident, which by definition can neither be predicted nor completely avoided, and common Indian taxpayers.

We would also like to record our strong objections to any move to bring in private players as "operators" in the arena of nuclear industry, as this would further escalate the probabilities of catastrophic accidents (something like Chernobyl on April 26 1986) and surely raise the levels of routine hazards as private operators would be essentially propelled by profit making motive constantly inducing them to cut corners as regards "safety". A regulatory mechanism would at best mitigate but can by no means eliminate that innate tendency. And, considering the uniqueness of nuclear industry in terms of its devastation potentials, this is a road that we must not travel.

We do, hence, strongly urge that the draft Bill after tabling before the Parliament ought to be referred to the appropriate Standing Committee and the Standing Committee must initiate the process of larger public consultations, as in case of the Communal Violence Bill 2005 for example, involving all stakeholders. Under no circumstances it be hurriedly passed as in case of the SEZ Act 2005 or the UAPA Act 2008. That would be against the very grain of Indian democracy given the deep and widespread concerns as regards the said Bill.

Hope you would give due consideration to our appeal.

Yours sincerely,

Praful Bidwai

Achin Vanaik

J Sri Raman

N D Jayaprakash

Sukla Sen

Anil Chaudhury

Cc:

Smt. Sonia Gandhi

Chairperson,

United Progressive Alliance,

28 Akbar Road, New Delhi

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CNDP Letter to the Prime Minister
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