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M’laya govt suspends uranium mining in BNP
Correspondent SHILLONG, APRIL 29
Published on 29 Apr. 2010 11:01 PM IST
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The Meghalaya government today decided to keep in abeyance the proposed exploratory drilling for uranium inside the Balpakram National Park (BNP) in South Garo Hills district.
The government’s move came after a meeting, chaired by chief minister
Mukul M Sangma with the Garo Student’s Union (GSU). The meeting decided that the drilling exercises will be taken with the rightful consent of the people.
“The government (Meghalaya) has endorsed our appeal in good spirit and will not against the sentiments of the local people,” Garo Student’s Union (GSU) General Secretary, Sanjeeb Sangma told journalists.
The GSU, including six other NGOs under the banner of Balpakram Anti Uranium Mining Forum (BAUMF) has opposed the Department of Atomic Energy’s proposal to conduct exploratory drilling inside the scared Balapakram National Park.
“It is a scared place for us and the government cannot override the sentiments of the people,” Mr Sangma said. 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 Hindus, too believes that Balpakram was the mythological hillock from where Hanuman plucked the life-giving herbs, sanjeevani, for wounded Lakshman.
The DAE had asked the Union Ministry of Forest and Environment for de-notification of eight sq km of forest under the national park to conduct an exploratory drilling in the ecologically-fragile Rongcheng plateau of the park.
Keeping in mind the necessity for Atomic Energy, the Standing Committee of National Board of Wildlife (NBWL) on April 12, unanimously recommended for exploratory drilling of Uranium. The Committee also observed that the approval of State Board for Wildlife was not statutorily required.
According to a recent survey, the Rongcheng plateau is one of the ‘’most potential’’ sites for ‘’high grade, large tonnage uranium deposits’’. Earlier, several groups threatened to launch a massive agitation in protest against the Centre’s decision to allow exploratory drilling inside the BNP.

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