Regional

M’laya to ascertain authenticity of ‘explosion’ of uranium storage tank

Correspondent Shillong, Sep 22 | Publish Date: 9/22/2020 12:12:03 PM IST

District authorities in Meghalaya’s South West Khasi Hills have decided to send a team to ascertain the authenticity of a reported “explosion” of a storage tank of the Uranium Corporation of  India Limited (UCIL) at remote Nongbah Jynrin village.

“We have also got the story of the reported ‘explosion’ of a storage tank at Nongbah Jynrin. We have spoken to some of the people residing in villages nearby Nongbah Jynrin but they are not aware of it,” Deputy Commissioner, South West Khasi district, Caramai Kharkongor said over phone.

 “If such an explosion had taken place, people residing in those areas would have moved out to safer grounds. Nonetheless, we are sending a team to ascertain the fact of the matter,” she said.

Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) General Secretary Donald Thabah said, “the tank storing the toxic effluents of the 1993 uranium exploratory mining in Nongbah Jynrin exploded today (Monday)”.

He said the information was received from the people residing in those areas. On the other hand, KSU South West Khasi Hills district president, Forwardman Nongrem recalled that the storage tank of the UCIL had cracked in the past and emitted foul smell.

Meanwhile, Deputy Regional Director, North Eastern Region, Atomic Mineral Division, Kamlesh Kumar said that they have not received any such report as the AMD has winded up its set-up at Nongbah Jynrin many years ago.

“If there is anything like that (explosion), we would surely go to the area,” Kumar said.

On August 29, 2017, the UCIL temporarily closed down its establishments in Meghalaya since the government-owned mining company did not receive mining lease and statutory permission from the state government.

Prior to the UCIL temporarily closing its office, the Atomic Mineral Directorate stopped its exploratory drilling in uranium-rich deposits in the South West Khasi Hills district after its officials were attacked and machines used for taking sub surface samples were also set on fire.

UCIL has proposed to set up an open-cast uranium mining and processing plant at Mawthabah. Meghalaya has an estimated 9.22 million tonnes of uranium ore deposits.  Meghalaya is the third uranium-rich state in the country after Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh.

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