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M’laya firm on uranium mining
Correspondent SHILLONG, MAY 7:
Published on 8 May. 2010 12:00 AM IST
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Despite public opposition to uranium mining groups, the Meghalaya government will put all efforts to get the people’s consent on the proposed uranium mining in the state.
“There is a need to adopt new approach to find out a solution to the apprehensions of the people as far as impact on health and environmental issues vis-à-vis the proposed uranium mining,” Chief Minister Mukul M Sangma told reporters.
Sangma who returned to Shillong yesterday after discussing the proposed uranium mining in the state with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
He said the complete engagement all people is necessary for evolving a consensus and discussed as to how the state can reap maximum benefit in the interest of the people.
The Prime Minister has assured all necessary instructions will be given to the relevant ministries the approach for building up a consensus on uranium mining in the best interest of the people of Meghalaya and the nation as a whole, Dr Sangma said.
The Kylleng-Pyndengsohiong-Mawthabah uranium project in state’s West Khasi Hills district, estimated at the cost of Rs. 1,046-crore has been kept in abeyance for two decades following protest from various groups.
The anti-mining groups opposed the project citing health and environment hazards in the state.
Similarly, the Department of Atomic Energy, which is proposing to conduct exploratory drilling of uranium at Balpakram National Park in South Garo Hills district, is facing strong opposition from various anti-mining groups.
Last month, the Standing Committee of National Board of Wildlife, headed by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, recommended the exploratory drilling for uranium in the “scared” national park.
The 400-sq km BNP has been identified not only as a biodiversity and ecological hotspot, but also a sacred place for tribal Garos.
The tribal Garos believe the spirit of their ancestors reside in the forest of Balpakram.
The uranium deposits in Meghalaya is the largest, richest, near-surface and low-cost, sandstone-type uranium deposit discovered in India so far.
The ores are spread over a 10-square-kilometer area (six square miles) in deposits varying from eight to 47 meters from the surface.

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