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Security beefed up in M’laya to combat protest
Correspondent SHILLONG, OCT 13:
Published on 13 Oct. 2009 11:47 PM IST
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Security has been beefed up in the Meghalaya capital in view of the two night road blockade to protest against land lease of 422 hectares to Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) in the state. The Khasi Students’ Union (KSU), spearheading the anti-uranium movement in the state has called the two night road blockade from 1900 hours to 0500 hours on October 14 and 15 demanding from the government to scrap its decision. On August 24, the cabinet had approved to lease out 422 hectares of land for 30 years to UCIL) to undertake Rs 209 crore pre-developmental projects in proposed mining uranium areas of West Khasi Hills district. Several other organisations, including the Hills State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) an ally of the Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance coalition government have extended support to the KSU. “Security has been tightened in to thwart any untoward incident during the road blockade,” East Khasi Hills district Superintendent of Police, LB Rapthap said. The state government directed the district administrations to ensure that there is no obstruction along the National Highway- 40 and 44, connecting Assam, Tripura, Manipur and Mizoram during the road blockade. The East Khasi Hills district administration had earlier clamped the Section 144 of CrPC in view of the KSU-sponsored agitation. KSU president Samuel B Jyrwa, pleading support from the public, said the lease agreement was only a ploy of the government to start Uranium mining in the district. “We will intensify our agitation if the government refused to fulfill our demand, which is in the interest of the indigenous people of the state,” Jyrwa said. Chief Minister DD Lapang, however, maintained that the government is not going bow down to any pressure on the issue. “We have decided to go ahead with pre-mining developmental projects in the proposed uranium mining areas,” he said. He added: “Uranium is a national property and the centre is not our enemy and who can prevent them (centre) from mining.” For over two-decades, the UCIL had proposed to set up an open-cast uranium mining and processing plant at Mawthabah, however, it failed following public protest.

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