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KSU protest against leasing of land to UCIL
Correspondent SHILLONG, SEPT 22:
Published on 23 Sep. 2009 12:25 AM IST
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Continuing with their protest against the leasing of land to the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL), the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) today staged a sit-in demonstration infront of Meghalaya additional secretariat. Last month, the Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance (MUA) coalition government approved to lease out 422 hectares of land for 30 years to UCIL for pre-project development in uranium-rich areas of West Khasi Hills district. The UCIL would invest Rs 1000 crore to undertake pre-developmental project activities to build schools, hospitals, roads and other infrastructures. Initially, the government-owned mining company would invest Rs. 209 crore for these projects. Several organisations have also opposed the Cabinet’s decision. Moreover, the allies of the MUA government – the United Democratic Party, Hills State People’s Democratic Party and Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement – also questioned the cabinet’s decision. “We are not against development activities, but against the UCIL-funded pre-developmental projects in 422 hectares of land in the uranium-rich deposits of Mawthabah and Nongbah Jynrin,” KSU Supremo Samuel Jyrwa said. The KSU also termed the lease agreement as a “ploy of the state government to facilitate the UCIL to start uranium mining in the areas.” However, Chief Minister DD Lapang had said that the government has decided not to revoke cabinet’s decision on leasing of land to UCIL. Last week, the KSU also today burned effigies of Meghalaya Chief Minister DD Lapang and his deputy Bindo M Lanong, besides UCIL. The UCIL had proposed a Rs 1,046 crore open-cast uranium mining and processing plant at Mawthabah in the West Khasi Hills district which has an estimated deposit of 9.22 million tonne of uranium ore. The UCIL, however, has failed to drum up support for the project, with several NGOs and anti-mining, civil and human rights groups opposing the proposed mining.

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