KSU calls all-party meet on uranium mining in Meghalaya

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Shillong, Feb 8: The Khasi Students' Union (KSU) would convene a meeting with leaders of all political parties following the clearance of the Uranium Mining Project in Meghalaya by the Union Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF).

The powerful student body, opposing to mining of uranium in the state, would ask the political parties to declare their stand before getting the people's mandate in the March three Assembly election. ''All political parties' leaders have been invited to attend our meeting and express their respective parties' views on the proposed mining of uranium in the state, '' KSU general secretary Hamlet Dohling told to the sources here today.

The proposed meeting was fixed on February 12. ''We want the political parties to come clear on the issue before people electing them,'' Mr Dohling said.

So far, only the Meghalaya Democratic Party (MDP) had assured to urge the Union Government not to go ahead with its plan to mine the ore in the state.

''The party would ask the government to take people into confidence and ensure that no damage is done to health, habitation and environment,'' the MDP's manifesto stated.

The Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and Congress did not mention their stand in their parties' election manifesto.

On December last, the Union Ministry of Environment and Forest granted environmental clearance to Uranium Corporation of India Limited for ore mining project 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 an open cast mining for production of 375,000 ton of uranium and processing of 1500 tonne at Mawthabah. Uranium ore deposits there have an average grade of 0.085 per cent.

The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) even recommended to 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 ton in about 9.22 million ton of ore in the state.

During an initial survey, the AMD found that the area around Kylleng-Pyndeng-Sohiong possessed about 10,000 ton of uranium.

The sandstone tpye uranium deposit in Meghalaya was the largest, richest, near-surface and low-cost, discovered in India so far, UCIL officials said.


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