Meghalaya dithers on uranium mining

May 24th, 2011 - 4:37 pm ICT by IANS  

Shillong, May 24 (IANS) The Meghalaya government Tuesday said it has yet to decide whether it will allow its rich deposits of uranium to be mined, something which has been firmly opposed by various groups in the state on health and environmental grounds.

“We have not decided anything on it (mining of uranium). The government will take a clear cut decision on this matter only after consulting with various stakeholders,” Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Bindo M. Lanong told IANS Tuesday.

The Atomic Minerals Directorate (AMD) has found an estimated 9,500 tonnes of uranium oxide reserves in Meghalaya.

The proposed open-cast uranium mining in Meghalaya’s West Khasi Hills district has been hanging fire since 1992 after several groups cited the ill-effects of radiation on human health and environment.

“We all know the sensitivity of this matter and the government understands the wishes of the people at large,” Lanong said.

Earlier, Chief Minister Mukul Sangma said his government will not force its decision on the people.

“This government will not bulldoze its people. No decision will be taken on the uranium mining without taking people into confidence,” Sangma said.

Over half-a-dozen civil society groups and political parties have been opposing uranium mining in the state.

“At no cost will we allow anyone to mine uranium in Meghalaya. The whole world has witnessed the radiation effects from the Fukushima nuclear plant,” said Samuel Jyrwa, leader of the influential Khasi Students’ Union (KSU).

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