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Meghalaya cabinet reaffirms commitment on UCIL projects
Correspondent SHILLONG, OCT 5:
Published on 6 Oct. 2009 12:07 AM IST
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The Meghalaya government today re-affirmed its commitment to go ahead with the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL)-funded pre-development projects, despite public protest over the issue. “The Cabinet did not discuss anymore on the UCIL-funded pre-development projects since the government had decided to go ahead with it,” Chief Minister DD Lapang told reporters after chairing a Cabinet meeting. Lapang, scheduled to leave for New Delhi tomorrow, said that he would also discuss the demand of various NGOs with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to extend the pre-development projects to the entire West Khasi Hills district. “I will take up the views of the NGOs with the Prime Minister to extend the pre-development projects to the entire West Khasi Hills district, but not to limit only to the Uranium-rich areas,” he said. He added: the cabinet had also entrusted him to present its unison view of carrying out pre-development projects in the uranium mining sites before the Prime Minister. The Meghalaya government had announced to undertake UCIL-funded pre-developmental projects in 422 hectares of land in the uranium-rich sites of West Khasi Hills district. The UCIL would invest Rs 1,000 crore to undertake pre-developmental project activities to build schools, hospitals, roads and other infrastructure. Initially, the government-owned mining company would invest Rs 209 crore for these projects. However, the government decision drew flak from several quarters, including various political parties on the government’s decision to embarked pre-developmental projects only in the proposed uranium mining areas. The UCIL had proposed to set up 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. However, the government-owned mining company 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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