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‘Locals back uranium mining project in Meghalaya’

Posted by Ramesh Khati on October 14, 2009

Mawthabah (meghalaya) October 13, 2009(PTI):The Assembly Committee on Schedule Tribe and Schedule Caste in Meghalaya has visited the proposed uranium mining site in the state and claimed that the locals were in favour of the project.

“We found that the land owners and locals are in favour of the project,” committees chairman HDR Lyngdoh told reporters here.

The committee, comprising four MLAs, interacted with the locals here in West Khasi Hills district yesterday.

Residents and headmen of eight villages in and around the mining site were present during the interaction and they were unanimous in backing the project saying though some of them were working in UCIL there was no health hazard due to the radioactive substance.

They held placards and banners before the members of the Committee urging that Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) should take up the project at the earliest.

Speaking at the meeting, secretary of Mawthabah village, Hesting Lyngdoh Sangriang said the Department of Atomic Energy had conducted an exploratory mining in the Nongbah Jynring area in 1987-88 and locally converted the uranium upto the ‘Yellow Cake’ stage. Yellow Cake is milled uranium oxide, a powder obtained during one step of processing uranium ore.

“At that time about 50 people got employed with UCIL and till date they have no health problems, he said, adding that people outside the area were making all sorts of allegation that uranium mining had caused health hazards with children born with deformities.

“We are drinking the water that comes from the uranium mining site for many years and none of us is affected by the so called strange diseases as alleged,” Lyngdoh Sangriang added.

The headman of New Nongtnger village Valentine Nonglang said the villages of Mawthbah have been facing only with common diseases like malaria and not those kind of diseases projected in the media.

MLA and member of the assembly committee Ronnie Lyngdoh said he suspected involvement of a lobby from outside the country in the anti-mining protests.

Lyngdoh said ‘foreign forces’ were not interested to see that India becoming an economic giant and super power.

“Meghalaya can contribute to the nations power requirement if uranium is allowed to be mined,” Lyngdoh said.

The Assembly Committee will also visit the mining areas in Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh.


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