Congress rejects all-party panel on Uranium in Meghalaya

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Shillong, Jun 24 (UNI) As the Congress High Command is mustering support in the Centre on nuclear deal, the Opposition Congress in Meghalaya has spurned the state government's invitation to participate in the all-party committee to evolve a consensus on uranium mining.

Chief Minister Dr Donkupar Roy constituted an all-party panel to discuss the contentious issue of whether to allow the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) to mine the radio active metal in Meghalaya's West Khasi Hills district.

'' There is no point being a part of the all-party committee as the Centre, headed by the Congress, has already decided in favour of mining in Meghalaya,'' Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee President O L Nongtdu told UNI here.

Mr Nongtdu iterated that it was a waste of time being a part of the all-party committee, which he felt was the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance's ''political gimmick.'' '' But it is interesting to note that the Congress is distancing itself from the uranium issue, especially at a time when the Congress-led UPA Government at the Centre is going all out to garner support for its allies on the Indo-US nuclear deal,'' he said.

The all-party committee, headed by the Chief Minister would suggest ''views and opinions'' of all the members of the House and to ascertain political opinions before taking a decision to grant a No Objection Certificate to UCIL.

The UCIL had planned to develop open cast mining for production of 375,000 tonnes of uranium deposits at Kylleng-Pyndeng-Sohiong village and a processing plant at Mawthabah in West Khasi Hills district. Uranium ore deposits here have an average grade of 0.085 per cent.

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