Meghalaya still non-committal to mine Uranium

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Shillong, Nov 27 (UNI) Meghalaya Chief Minister Donkupar Roy today made it clear to the Centre that his government would allow Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) to mine uranium only if the state derived more benefit from it.

He made this clear during a meeting with Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) Prithviraj Chavan in Delhi in presence of Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar.

'' We have made it clear that Delhi needs to first clear out the radiation-related health and environmental hazards to get a consensus on the mining project, '' Dr Roy said over phone from the national capital.

Dr Roy was accompanied by Deputy Chief Minister Hoping Stone Lyngdoh, Minister for Higher and Technical Education Manas Chaudhuri, Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Adviser Pariong, Chief Secretary Ranjan Chattarjee, besides others.

Assuring the high-level delegation from Meghalaya of all round development, Mr Chavan said the Centre would spend Rs 1,300 crore for the all round developmental of in the area.

Official sources said the AEC Chairman also briefed the Chief Minister's delegation on India's possessing advanced technology for safety performances in all the nuclear plants, which were at par with any international standard.

The radiation level was too low in the area in West Khasi Hills and there was no chance of any radiation, Mr Kakodkar clarified, even as the Prime PMO said the Centre would conduct a health survey in the area prior to taking up the project.

The Centre was considering setting up a nuclear power plant in the state provided the area was feasible to have such infrastructure, he told the delegation.

He said setting up of a nuclear power plant in Meghalaya would benefit the state for generation of power.

Mr Chavan also assured that not a single family would be displaced from the area.

''There are a few families in the area and the land to be taken on 24-year lease will be returned to the owners,'' he stated.

He said the Centre would also set up a cancer hospital and a centre for telemedicine in the area.

The UCIL had proposed a Rs 1,046 crore opencast uranium mining and processing plant at Mawthabah having an estimated deposit of 9.22 million ton of uranium ore.

Despite all commitments, 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.


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