Govt mulls over law on relief to radiation victims

Move follows the death of a person in the New Delhi incident

However, this appalling lacuna is now being looked into by the Union government as the highly callous act of  Delhi University — in selling the deadly Cobalt-60 as scrap —  led to the death of one person and left at least seven others battling for life.

Admitting that there was no law in this regard, Minister of State for Science and Technology Prithviraj Chavan told Deccan Herald on Friday that the government was seriously looking into this aspect.

Special law

“We may have a new special law which looks into these issues. We will be holding discussions over this in the next few days,” he added.

“Compensation or insurance will not be covered under the Nuclear Liability Bill which the government proposes to bring in and this Bill deals only with the accidents taking place in nuclear plants.

“The Delhi incident will have to be applied a different law as the radioactive material used here was for research purposes”.

The minister disclosed that dangerous substance in Delhi was imported by  Delhi University from the Atomic Energy Canada Limited for use in the chemistry department.
“We are in touch with them,” he said and added that the radioactive material, sheathed in lead, was disposed in a callous manner as it was sold as scrap along with furniture  and other junk materials in February, 2010.

The scrap dealer, who bought it, was not aware that he was handling a life-threatening material.

Notice issued

The Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, which is now investigating the issue, has issued a show-cause notice to Delhi University under the Atomic Energy (Safe Disposal of Radioactive Waste) Rules and Atomic Energy (Radioactive Protection) Rules, Chavan added.

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