Meghalaya govt shouldn't bow down on Uranium mining: MPHRC

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Shillong, Jan 10 (UNI) The Meghalaya People's Human Rights Council (MPHRC) has appealed to the Congress-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government not to ''bow down to the Centre's pressure tactics'' on the proposed Uranium mining in the state.

''The state government should not bow down to the Centre's pressure tactics by giving No Objection Certificate (NOC) to the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) to mine uranium in Meghalaya,'' MPHRC secretary general Dino G Dympep said.

The MPHRC also said it would approach the Supreme Court if the state government issued NOC to the UCIL to mine Uranium at Kylleng-Pyndengsohiong in the West Khasi Hills district.

Last month, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF) granted environmental clearance for open cast mining of Uranium and setting up of a processing plant at Mawthabah.

''Before the public hearing at Nongbah Jynrin, the MPHRC had filed a Public Interest Litigation in the Gauhati High Court. The court has recognised the right to health as part of human rights,'' Mr Dympep said.

He informed that the MPHRC, through the Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board, had submitted a representation to the MoEF, describing the reasons for the council's opposition to proposed uranium mining in the state.

''The Union Ministry has not responded to our representation.

This indicates the intention of the Centre to exploit the indigenous people of Meghalaya by going ahead with uranium mining,'' Mr Dympep added.

Earlier, Meghalaya Chief Minister D D Lapang said his government was awaiting the all-party committee's recommendation to decide on Uranium mining in the state.

''The Centre has given its approval for the project, but we are still awaiting the all-party recommendation on Uranium mining,'' Mr Lapang said.

However, the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) had 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 upliftment and sustainable development in the proposed mining areas.

The Atomic Minerals Directorate (AMD) found uranium oxide reserves, estimated to be about 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 the state were the largest, richest, most near the surface and low-cost, discovered in India so far, UCIL officials said.

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