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Panel for sense of House on agreement

india Updated: May 01, 2008 02:41 IST
Shekhar Iyer
Shekhar Iyer
Hindustan Times
Panel for sense of House on agreement

Ahead of the UPA-Left meeting on the Indo-US nuclear deal on May 6, a parliamentary panel has said in a report that the sense of Parliament “needs to be taken into consideration” before the government moves forward on the pact.

Headed by AIADMK leader V. Maitreyan, the parliamentary standing committee on science and technology and environment and forests said, the agreement has to be looked at from the larger perspective of national security as well as national interest.

The panel made its observation after studying the demands for grants for 2008-09 of the department of atomic energy totalling Rs 3,908 crore for atomic energy and Rs 889 crore for nuclear power schemes.

While acknowledging the increasing energy needs of the country, the panel wanted the thrust to be on the indigenous “three-stage programme” on which Indian scientists, it said, were working with great confidence and optimism.

The panel, which has representatives from the Congress, among others, said, “the Indo-US nuclear agreement has caused serious concerns with regard to our foreign policy and security-related issues on which our Parliament had to debate several times. The sense of Parliament needs to be taken into consideration.”

The panel’s recommendations are not binding on the government. But the timing of its report cannot be a comfort for the government, which is moving ahead on the deal, say Opposition leaders.