Meghalaya: Tribal land-owners destroy UCIL road

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Shillong, May 22: Tribal land-owners have destroyed roads, about 20 km in stretch, to disrupt mining by the Uranium Corporation of India (UCIL) in Meghalaya.

The new road, sponsored by the UCUL, from Wahkhaji to Mawthabah, being built by the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) at a cost of Rs ten crore was to facilitate uranium mining and transportation of goods and personnel.

The UCIL had proposed to develop an open cast mining at Kylleng-Pyndengsohiong Uranium ore and processing project at the Mawthabah.

''Yesterday, a group of 15 people, including women (land-owners) destroyed the guard wall, affecting the normal movement of people in the area,'' Superintendent of Police Dalton P Marak told UNI over the phone from Nongstoin, the district headquarters of West Khasi Hill district.

The incident at Wahkaji, about 110 km from here, assumed significance in the backdrop of the Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board's (MSPCB) decision to hold a public hearing at Nongbah Jynrin village on June 12, regarding proposed uranium mining in the state.

''We are already on with our investigation and all the perpetrators will be booked under Meghalaya Prevention Detention Act and National Security Act for damaging the property'', the police officer said.

The uranium deposits in the state is the largest, richest, near-surface and low-cost. The sandstone-type uranium deposits spread over a ten-square-kilometer area and varying from 8-47 metres from the surface.

The project estimated at a cost of Rs 814 crore, was strongly opposed by the Hills State People's Democratic Party and Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement, which are the allies of Congress-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government, the Khasi Student's Union, Meghalaya People's Human Rights Council and Langrin Youth Welfare Association.

The anti-mining groups are opposing the uranium mining fearing health and environment hazards in the state.


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