MDP to urge govt not to go ahead with Uranium mining

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Shillong, Feb 2 (UNI) Making Uranium mining issue as one of its poll planks, the Meghalaya Democratic Party(MDP) today said it would urge the Union government not to go ahead with its plan to mine the ore in the state.

Releasing its 25-point manifesto for the March 3 assembly polls, MDP president and Social Welfare Minister Martle N Mukhim said the party would ask the government to take people into confidence and ensure that no damage was done to health, habitation and environment.

A couple of months ago, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest granted environmental clearance to Uranium Corporation of India Limited for ore mining project at Kylleng-Pyndeng - Sohiong area in West Khasi Hills district.

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

However, there were 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 to look into the different aspects of the project. It is due to submit its report this month.

UCIL plans to develop an open cast mining for production of 375,000 tonne of Uranium and processing of 1,500 tonne at Mawthabah.

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

Earlier, the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) even recommended to 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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