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State Govt says no to UCIL

‘Keep EOI, pre-mining activities in abeyance’

Chief Minister Mukul Sangma in a meeting with members of 15 pressure groups comprising the anti-uranium mining groups and pro-road project groups  in city on Friday. (ST)
Chief Minister Mukul Sangma in a meeting with members of 15 pressure groups comprising the anti-uranium mining groups and pro-road project groups
in city on Friday. (ST)

SHILLONG: Amid strong reservations expressed by several pressure groups against uranium mining, the state government has decided to direct the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) to “keep in abeyance” its recent notice for expression of interest (EOI) and all pre-uranium mining activities in the state.
The decision was taken at a meeting with over 15 pressure groups, which comprise the anti-uranium mining groups and pro-road project groups, convened by Chief Minister Mukul Sangma here on Friday.
Speaking to media persons after the meeting, the Chief Minister admitted that UCIL had floated the current expression of interest for construction of open pit mines and   processing unit   without the knowledge of the state Government.
Stating that the State government in 2009 had approved the proposal of the UCIL to   lease out 422  hectares of land for pre-mining  activities, Sangma  said that the stand of the Government even that time was that the people of the state should be taken  into confidence before carrying out any  mining-related activities.
“The 2009 cabinet decision has been kept in abeyance and was never implemented as the stand of the state government is uranium mining can take place only after all stakeholders are taken on board,” he said.
“We have laws in place to protect the interest of the people and it is not easy for UCIL to go ahead with uranium mining or pre-mining activities. Land has to be given to UCIL based on laws,” he said.
“First of all UCIL does not have any land there for any activity and any land has to be given as per the land   transfer act,” Sangma said, adding as per the law, any mining activity should be done only after   the mining lease is  given by the  State Government   and the State Government is firm in its approach  of not allowing  any  activity     (uranium Mining)  until people are taken on board.
He also informed that the   Ministry of Road Transport and Highways had indicated that  certain stretch of the Mawthabah-Wakhaji road  was to facilitate uranium  and later the National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation  clarified that   the stretch of road  is not linked to  uranium mining.
In the meeting, all the stakeholders demanded that a clarification should come from the   Ministry of Road Transport and Highways in this regard.
The Chief Minister said the state government would seek a clarification from the Centre on the objective of the road.
On the other hand, the KSU president Daniel Khyriem informed that the pressure  groups in the meeting opposed the idea of constructing a road in Mawthabah area “since the documents of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways clearly show  that the road has been proposed to  facilitate uranium mining.”
Welcoming the state government’s decision, he said that the Government instead of constructing a new road should repair the existing road.
Leaders of the KSU), NESO, LYWA, Joint Action Committee of Social Organization (JACSO), JAC on Two-Laning from Nongstoin-Wahkaji-Mawthabah and others attended the meeting.

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