"No supplier, Indian or foreign, would be willing to take the liability on account of recourse of the operator for the period of some 80 odd years after the contract is executed. Under the circumstances, the provisions of 17 (b) are neither practical nor implementable," said NPCIL executive director Sudhinder Thakur.
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) too views the amendment as a deterrent to the nuclear industry.
Typically 300-400 suppliers or service providers are engaged in each nuclear power plant and it may not be practical for the operator to have multiple recourse against all such suppliers for liability claims, CII director general Chandrajit Banerjee said in a letter to Union Science and Technology Minister Prithviraj Chavan.
The provisions in the contentious 17 (b) have changed twice already. While the first draft had one version, the parliamentary standing committee on science, technology and environment and forests suggested a different draft in its report.
"Undoubtedly, the government has powers to make laws, but in the process of making such laws we should not defeat the purpose for which the laws are made since with the current formulation of 17 (b), no manufacturer, Indian or foreign would be able to serve the nuclear power industry," Thakur said in a statement.
The NPCIL official cited the example of the ships that collided off Mumbai coast leaking tonnes of oils on the sea. The operators of the ship are having an absolute liability to cover the damages and nobody is talking about the manufacturers of the ship or suppliers of different components to the ship.
Source - DH News Service