Roy flays Congress for rejecting APC on uranium

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Shillong, Jun 25 (UNI) Meghalaya Chief Minister Dr Donkupar Roy today said he was surprised over the Opposition Congress' distancing itself from the all-party panel on uranium in the state.

'' I have constituted the all-party committee after Leader of Opposition D D Lapang has suggested us to do so to reach a consensus on uranium mining, '' Dr Roy told UNI here.

Yesterday, the Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee rejected the Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) government's invitation to be part of the panel, saying, '' It is waste of time being part of the all party committee which he felt was the MPA's political gimmick. '' '' There is no point of being a part of the all party committee as the Central government, headed by the Congress, has already decided in favour of mining in Meghalaya, '' Meghalaya Pradesh Congress Committee president O L Nongtdu had said.

Asked about his two key allies - Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) and Hills State People's Democratic Party (HSPDP) - sticking to their old stand, Dr Roy said the two parties' contention against mining of uranium was mainly on health hazard.

'' If the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) and any independent body can prove that there will be no health hazard from uranium mining. I am sure they will not oppose it, '' he stated.

Nonetheless, the Chief Minister made it clear that even his party the United Democratic Party had made it clear that mining would take place only if the mining company assured of no health hazard.

'' We shall never compromise on the issue of health and environment at any cost, '' Dr Roy said.

The UCIL had planned to develop open cast mining for production of 375,000 ton of uranium deposits at Kylleng-Pyndeng-Sohiong village and a processing plant at Mawthabah in West Khasi Hills district.

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

It also offered an economic package for all round socio-economic development of the area.

Despite all commitment, the UCIL had failed to drum up support for the project with several NGOs and anti-mining civil and human rights groups opposing it, citing human safety and environmental hazards due to radiation.

UNI RRK SJC DB1709

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