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Groups seek views on uranium mining
Correspondent SHILLONG, MAR 2:
Published on 3 Mar. 2010 12:03 AM IST
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The Joint Committee on Uranium Mining in Meghalaya (JCUMM) today decided to involve an independent institute for nuclear physics and seek opinion on mining the radioactive ore. “We have decided to write to some independent institute associated with nuclear physics to provide us with definite and objective presentation from independent sources on the overall effects of uranium mining and suggest precautionary measures,” Deputy Chief Minister Bindo M Lanong said after chairing the first sitting of JCUMM. However, two anti-uranium mining groups, Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) and Coordination of Committee of Social Organisations (CCSO), who are part of the committee boycotted today’s meeting. These two groups are demanding ouster of pro-uranium mining group - Association of Meghalaya for Development Advancement (AMDA) - from the commitee. The meeting also decided to visit Mawthabah, the uranium-rich area in West Khasi district of Meghalaya, after the budget session of the Assembly. Asked about KSU and CCSO’s boycott, Lanong said, the matter would be taken up after talks with KSU, CCSO and AMDA. “The committee will look into the matter. It would try to involve everyone concerned with regards to Uranium mining in the state,” Lanong said. He informed that the committee also wanted to involve more experts who can advise and give opinions on the subject, adding, the next meeting of JCUMM would be held by the end of April or first week of May. The State government had on November 4 last year constituted JCUMM and put on hold the pre-mining development works in the uranium-rich area around Mawthabah following series of the protests from KSU and CCSO. Both the groups had opposed the decision of the MUA Cabinet to lease 422 hectare of land in the uranium-rich area to UCIL and also for allowing the company to start the pre-mining development project in the area earmarked at Rs 209 crore. On November last, the government had constituted JCUMM after series of protests from KSU and CCSO opposing the government’s decision to lease 422 hectare of land in the uranium-rich area to Uranium Corporation of India Limited to start the pre-mining development project in West Khasi Hills district. The proposed Kylleng-Pyndengsohiong-Mawthabah Uranium Project in the state has been hanging fire for three decades due to opposition from tribesmen of the state. Various groups, including political parties, were opposing to mining of uranium apprehending health and environmental hazards following the uranium projects.

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