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PMO assigns Kakodkar for talks
Correspondent SHILLONG, AUG 21:
Published on 22 Aug. 2008 12:14 AM IST
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Even as India is pushing hard to press for lifting of the ban to trade nuclear with Nuclear Supplier Group countries, Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Anil Kakodkar and Union Cabinet Secretary KM Chandrasekhar are expected to arrive here tomorrow to evolve a consensus on the proposed Uranium mining in Meghalaya. Both Kakodkar and Chandrasekhar has been assigned by the Prime Minister’s Office to brief Chief Minister Dr Donkupar Roy and anti-mining groups on India’s urgent requirement of nuclear fuel to feed it’s nuclear reactors, official sources said. Later, they would also call on Governor RS Mooshahary and meet members of the All Party Committee on Uranium Mining, headed by the Chief Ministers. The opposition Congress is also part of the all party committee. The Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) had planned to develop open cast mining for production of 375,000 tonne of uranium from Meghalaya’s Kylleng-Pyndeng-Sohiong village failed to start its mining operation due to apprehension of radiation-related health hazards from NGOs and political parties for the last three decades. “Yes, India is in dire need of nuclear fuel to meet the huge demand for power generation. We would try to allay fears about radiation from Uranium and would put its case forward to evolve a consensus on the issue,” an AMD official said. He added that: “Meghalaya could contribute 16 percent of the country’s need for uranium. The contribution can even go beyond that as the DAE is also carrying exploration work in Garo Hills where there is uranium deposit”. However, official sources said that the Centre have expressed its desire to start the uranium project at Mawthabah as early as possible in order to avert any escalation of project cost. The UCIL had revised its estimate cost of the project from Rs 810 to Rs 1000 crore. “We will never allow anyone to mine Uranium in Meghalaya as history has told us about radiation-related health hazards through Uranium mining,” KSU President Samuel Jyrwa said. However, the department of atomic energy and UCIL has formulated a detailed mining plan, even as the mining company assures sufficient measures for socio-economic uplift and sustainable development in the proposed mining areas. “We shall never compromise on the issue of health and environment at any cost,” chief minister Donkupar Roy said. In fact, the Chief Minister had constituted an all party committee on uranium mining and formed two expert groups to study the implications of the proposed uranium mining. The expert committee on health had already started its investigation and examined the physical health of the local residents in the area. The second independent group has also been formed with North Eastern Hills University (NEHU) Registrar D T Khating and former principal of Dhanbad School of Mining Prof B Dhar as its members. Both these groups will submit the report to the all party committee.

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