The Union Cabinet will consider the Lokpal Bill on Sunday and make all efforts to get it passed during the ongoing Parliament session, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told accompanying journalists while returning from the annual India-Russia summit.
“We are working day and night to give shape to the Bill and it is my hope that by tomorrow [Sunday] we should be able to bring it to the Cabinet. And thereafter we will be ready to take it to Parliament.
“Once it is in Parliament, it will be in the hands of Parliament and we don't know what could happen. But there should not be any doubt about our sincerity to get the Bill passed in this session,” Dr. Singh said to a query.
The question was asked in the context of social activist Anna Hazare threatening to launch an indefinite fast on December 27, five days after the scheduled end of the winter session.
On the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, which has been unable to function due to protests, the government has adopted an unyielding position with Dr. Singh stating Rs. 14,000-crore investments could not be allowed to lie idle.
Offer to Tamil Nadu
At the same time, he announced a marginal hike in power allocation for Tamil Nadu if the first and second units begin operations. Dr. Singh said the Centre would allocate 1,000 MW to the State from the total generation of 2,000 MW, against the original proposal of 930 MW. In response to a letter from Chief Minister Jayalalithaa, the Prime Minister said the Centre was planning to allocate an additional 100 MW from the national grid.
Pointing out that the government had gone out of its way to allay apprehensions of the people worried about the safety issue in the Kudankulam plant, the Prime Minister said more and more people, including legislatures, were now of the view that the agitation was “overdone.”
“Politics is sometimes, I think, murky and I am confident that ultimately good sense will prevail,” Dr. Singh said.
On Friday, at a joint news conference with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, the Prime Minister expressed the hope that the first unit of the Kudankulam project would be operationalised in a “couple of weeks” and the second unit six months later.
On the Mullaperiyar dam issue, Dr. Singh said he had been trying to persuade the Tamil Nadu and Kerala governments to sit down across the table and discuss it. “I have not succeeded so far, but I have not given up hope. If good sense prevails, as I do believe will prevail, I have confidence in the leaderships of Tamil Nadu and Kerala that in a mutually satisfactory manner this problem can be resolved.”
Government has gone out of its way to allay fears over Kudankulam plant