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Lapang calls for dialogue to end UCIL stalemate
Correspondent SHILLONG, OCT 27:
Published on 27 Oct. 2009 10:40 PM IST
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The Meghalaya Cabinet today decided to invite the agitating groups for talks against their protest on leasing of 422 square hectares of land to Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) in the state. “We are ready to hold talks with the agitating groups, including the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) and Coordination Committee of Social Organisation (CCSO) provided they suspend their agitational programmes,” Chief Minister DD Lapang told journalists after chairing the Cabinet meeting. The government has proposed to hold a dialogue with the agitating leaders on November 3 after his arrival from Mumbai. The powerful KSU, spearheading the anti-uranium agitation in the state, has announced fresh rounds of two-night road blockade from October 29 at 2000 hours till 0500 hours of the next day and will continue with similar timing on October 30. Similarly, the CCSO, an umbrella organisation of five pressure groups also announced to stage a hunger-strike protest on October 30 here. The CCSO has decided to rope in church leaders to take part in the hunger strike. The agitation was aimed at to mount pressure on the DD Lapang-led government to scarp its “pre-mining developmental projects” in the uranium-rich areas of West Khasi Hills district. The KSU and CCSO are separately demanding from the government to scrap its decision to lease 422 hectares of land to the UCIL for 30 years in the uranium-belts of the state. Welcoming the government’s offer, the KSU reiterated its stand on its demand. “We will continue with the people’s movement until the government fulfils our demand,” KSU Spokesman Auguster Jyrwa said. He, however, said that the decision to accept the government’s offer would be discuss tomorrow. On August 24, the cabinet had approved to lease out 422 hectares of land for 30 years to UCIL) to undertake pre-developmental projects in proposed mining uranium areas 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.

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