Meghalaya Dy CM opposes Uranium mining

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Shillong, Apr 5 (UNI) Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Hoping Stone Lyngdoh today reiterated his stand on opposing Uranium mining in the state even as the Centre decided to extract the ore from the Kylleng-Pyndengsohiong village.

''I will take up the matter before the Cabinet and request our coalition partners not to issue a No Objection Certificate to the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) for the mining in Meghalaya,'' Mr Lyngdoh said.

Mr Lyngdoh, also president of the Hill State People's Democratic Party (HSPDP), an ally of the ruling Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) government, said, ''The exploratory uranium mining carried out by the Atomic Energy Division in the 1980s had affected the health of the people with various diseases, including cancer.'' He also claimed that complaints of people suffering from various kinds of diseases were received from six villages - Rambrai, Nobosohphoh, Langrin, Nongstoin, Myriaw and Khatsawphra - in West Khasi Hills district.

''Most of the people from these villages are suffering from cancer while some women suffered either a miscarriage or a stillbirth,'' the Deputy Chief Minister said.

His reiteration came in the backdrop of the Prime Minister's Office deciding to go ahead with the Kylleng-Pyndengsohiong-Mawthabah Uranium mining in West Khasi Hills District.

Minister of State attached to the Prime Minister's Office Prithiviraj Chavan informed the Lok Sabha in a written statement that the UCIL would go ahead with the mining and processing project in Meghalaya, despite NGOs protest.

''Various pre-project activities are being carried out and work for implementing the project will commence only after UCIL secures all statutory clearances as well as investment approval from the government,'' Mr Chavan had informed Parliament.

On December, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests granted environmental clearance to the UCIL to mine Uranium ore at Kylleng-Pyndeng-Sohiong area in West Khasi Hills district, based on the public hearing report, submitted by the Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board.

The UCIL had planned to develop open cast mining for production of 3,75,000 tonnes of uranium and processing of 1,500 tonnes at Mawthabah.

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

The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) 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 possessed about 10,000 tonnes of uranium.

In fact, ahead of the Assembly polls, most of the political parties, barring the Congress, had voiced their protest on the proposed mining of uranium in the state.

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