Meghalaya govt yet to decide on Uranium mining

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Shillong, Jan 2 (UNI) Meghalaya Chief Minister D D Lapang today said his government was waiting for the recommendations of the all-party committee to decide on Uranium mining in the state.

His statement came after the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests(MoEF) granted environmental clearance for Uranium ore mining project at Kylleng-Pyndeng - Sohiong area in state's West Khasi Hills district.

''The Centre has given its approval for the project, but we are still awaiting the all party recommendations on the matter,'' Mr Lapang told UNI here over phone.

On June 12 last year, the Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board convened a public hearing, seeking public views at Nongbah Jynrin.

However, there was protests from several political parties and NGOs against the hearing.

The Khasi Students' Union(KSU) and Meghalaya Human Rights' Council (MPHRC) wanted the government to drop its plan of mining Uranium in Meghalaya. After that the government constituted an all-party committee under Deputy Chief Minster Mukul Sangma.

The committee would look into the different aspects of the project and submit its report this month.

Last month, the MoEF had granted permission to Uranium Corporation of India Limited to develop an open cast mining for production of 375,000 ton and processing of 1,500 ton at Mawthabah.

The uranium ore deposits there have an average grade of 0.085 per cent.

Earlier, the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council(KHADC) even recommended the state government to approve the UCIL project in the ''interest of the state and the country.'' The UCIL had assured sufficient measures for socio-economic uplift and sustainable development in the proposed mining areas.

The Atomic Minerals Directorate(AMD) found uranium oxide reserves, estimating 9,500 tonnes in about 9.22 million tonnes of ore in the state.

During an initial survey, the AMD found that the area around Kylleng-Pyndeng-Sohiong had about 10,000 tonnes of uranium.

The sandstone tpye uranium deposits in Meghalaya were the largest, richest, near-surface and low-cost, discovered in India so far, UCIL officials said.

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