Suspend Uranium mining project in Meghalaya:UDP

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Shillong, Feb 21 (UNI) The United Democratic Party has expressed concern over the nonchalant attitude of the Congress-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government on the issue of Uranium mining.

Releasing its election manifesto for the March 3 Assembly poll, the UDP asked the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) and other government authorities to lay a white paper on the proposed mining of Uranium in West Khasi Hills district.

''The white paper should cover comprehensive information on mining and other scientific processes on uranium mining, including acquisition of land and other precautionary measures required to protect the environment and the life of the people, in conformity with international norms,'' the manifesto said.

''As of now any proposal should be suspended for an indefinite period, for it is better to be safe than sorry,'' the UDP said.

Barring the Congress, other parties, the Nationalist Congress Party, BJP, Hill State Peoples Democratic Party and Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement, had voiced their protest on the proposed mining of uranium in the backdrop of Union Ministry of Environment and Forest granting environmental clearance to UCIL for ore mining project at Kylleng-Pyndeng-Sohiong area.

In fact, the government constituted an all party committee under Deputy Chief Minister Mukul Sangma to look into the different aspects of the project.

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 type Uranium deposits in Meghalaya were the largest, richest, near-surface and low-cost, discovered in India so far, UCIL officials said.

UNI RRK PL AE KN1750

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