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Meghalaya uranium mining imbroglio deepens

Written by: Staff
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Shillong, May 10 (UNI) The uranium deposit in Meghalaya is unlikely to contribute to the country's nuclear programme soon, the intensifies between the supporters of mining and those opposing it.

A delegation of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC), which has been instrumental in providing logistical and political support to the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) for their proposed mining activities, was yesterday prevented by the West Khasi Hills district administration from taking a trip to the areas having uranium deposits.

The district administration clamped Section 144 of CrPC in and around the Wakhaji village and stopped the KHADC delegation at Nongstoin, about 15 kms from their destination.

The administration said it had to take the step to prevent possible clash between the delegation and the members of the Khasi Students Union (KSU), which was opposed to uranium mining.

A large number of KSU members and the Hill State People Democratic Party (HSPDP) activists gathered at Wahkaji to prevent the KHADC delegation from visiting the area.

The delegation, led by its Chief Executive member H S Shylla, was scheduled to lay the foundation stone of the 20-km long Wahkaji-Mawthabah road and announce a development package for the area.

The new road, being constructed by the KHADC, would facilitate uranium mining in the area through transportation of goods and personnel.

The development package, which was scheduled to be announced, included construction of a medical center and a football ground at Wahkaji. It also included construction of a suspension bridge over Wah Umsawpher river and assistance to nine schools in the area.

Mr Shylla later lashed out at the state government for allowing the agitators to have an upper hand on the issue.

''We have been prevented by the district administration from proceeding to the areas with uranium deposits. It seems the state government is too soft and it is allowing the agitators to have the upper hand,'' he told newsmen.

He added that action would be initiated against those creating hurdles in developmental activities in the state.

''This time we are trying to be lenient, but the next time we have to take stern action against those obstructing development activities in the state,'' he said.

Besides the KSU and HSPDP, several other NGOs in the West Khasi Hills district have been opposing uranium mining, saying that mining would lead to serious environmental hazards.

UNI SG SP VD RN1246

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