Six Greenpeace activists arrested for protesting against Nuclear Liability Bill

     Six activists of the environment group Greenpeace were arrested here on Wednesday for protesting against the tabling of the Nuclear Liability Bill in Parliament. The activists held placards and barrels that read "People Before Profit", and climbed lampposts to hang banners bearing the same legend. The Nuclear Liability Bill was tabled in the Lok Sabha in March 2010 and was cleared by the Union Cabinet in the centre on Friday. A Greenpeace activist said the government had taken the decision under pressure and in a hurry. "We feel that the government is acting under pressure. There was no need that within three months the procedures towards the passing of the Bill were completed, and that the Bill was brought in this Parliament Session and was passed by both the Houses. There could have been a full-fledged study and more effort could have been given on this Bill," said Karuna, a Greenpeace activist. "In the United States, their domestic legislation Price-Anderson (Nuclear Industries Indemnity) Act, before that there was a lot of scientific study done and on the risk estimates. If the amount was rupees 500 crores, it was selected arbitrarily. There is no scientific estimate or basis of the 1,500 crore that the government raised. So we think that the government is passing this under a lot of pressure," she added. Police broke the demonstration and arrested six activists. The government is hoping to have the Bill enacted into law in the current Parliament Session that ends at August 31. The Bill lays down the liability of the operator at rupees five billion in case of an accident, with the maximum amount of liability at rupee equivalent of 300 million Special Drawing Rights, which amounts to rupees 20.25 billion. Greenpeace has been a strong opponent of the Bill, and is particularly critical of the cap set on accident compensation that would be borne by the operator.

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