MoU inked with DAE not ticket for Uranium mining in Meghalaya

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Shillong, May 21 (UNI) Meghalaya Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Adviser Pariong today said the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding with the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) was not a ticket to Uranium mining in the state.

''The MoU was signed with the intention to ease cancer patients who have to go outside the state for treatment, but not for giving a ticket to Uranium Corporation of India Limited to start mining of Uranium,'' Dr Pariong told reporters here.

The DAE signed the MoU with the state government on May 15 and earmarked Rs 25 crore for setting up the centre at the civil hospital.

However, anti-mining groups, including the Khasi Students' Union, had expressed apprehension on setting up of the cancer centre and stated that the agreement was an indication and an opening act of the atomic energy to facilitate Uranium mining in the state.

Asked on an agreement with other cancer institutes of the country for an agreement barring the DAE, the Health and Family Welfare Minister said, ''We have no other objection if any institute can provide health to the people of the state.'' He said, ''The DAE is a Central government department. So the state government can sign any agreement with such departments.'' Earlier, Director of Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai, Dr Rajiv Sarin, had told reporters here that the work for the cancer wing will start in the next six months and within three years, the hospital will have its own building equipped with state-of-the-art technology.

Dr Sarin said the DAE and Tata Memorial Centre, Mumbai, will facilitate training for doctors, physicists and technicians and set up research facilities for detection of cancer and the factors responsible for the disease.

''Due to non-availability of facilities to treat cancer, several patients from the state have to go to Vellore and other cities outside the North-East and that is why we want to set up the cancer wing in the hospital to help the people of Meghalaya and the NE as a whole,'' Dr Sarin said.

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