Another round of media campaign to back n-deal soon: Deora

July 15th, 2008 - 8:59 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, July 15 (IANS) After full-page advertisements in newspapers advocating the India-US nuclear deal, the petroleum ministry will unleash another round of media campaign, probably this week, ahead of the July 22 trust vote in parliament. Petroleum Minister Murli Deora said the new advertisements will highlight the importance of nuclear energy in helping bridge the revenue losses due to the spiralling global oil prices.

Terming nuclear energy as “essential”, the minister said that with oil prices crossing $140 a barrel, nuclear energy has become “affordable”.

Last Saturday, leading dailies carried advertisements, sponsored by the petroleum ministry, that showed a smiling Manmohan Singh and United Progressive Alliance (UPA) chairperson Sonia Gandhi waving jubilantly at pulling off the India-US civil nuclear deal.

The Left parties withdrew support to the UPA July 8, after the prime minister said the government was approaching the International Atomic Energy Agency for initiating the India-specific safeguards agreement for civilian nuclear facilities. The government will now have to face a trust vote in parliament July 22.

Stating that Indian public sector oil undertakings will lose Rs.2,460 billion in this fiscal year, Deora termed India as one of the worst hit countries of the “oil shock”. Public oil distribution companies sell fuel in the domestic market at subsidised rates, which is only partially recovered from the central government.

Deora said that nuclear energy will help reduce the revenue losses, but pointed out that nuclear plants were facing uranium shortages.

“Even as India faces crippling energy shortages and our nuclear plants are short of uranium, the nuclear deal assures us the supplies we need to power the future. If we do not act now, our future energy independence is at stake,” said Deora.

Echoing the government position, the minister said that the nuclear deal will end India’s “technological isolation” since the Pokharan nuclear tests in 1998.

Saying that the deal will “restore sovereign honour”, he added that it would allow Indian scientists to rejoin the global community as well as recognise India as a responsible country with nuclear power.

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