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Uranium mining or development?

Editor,

Recently reading the news and multiple ‘letters to the editor’ related to uranium mining in West Khasi Hills he only voices heard were that of NGOs’, Government and a few individuals. It seems that democracy boils down to a few entities. This issue has become political and worse an anti-State/Government issue. What about the voiceless; the people in the immediate surrounding where uranium is prevalent and the people at the periphery who will directly and indirectly be affected by uranium mining. I feel that the following questions remain unanswered;

What is development? What kind of development do people want/need? What are the government views on development? What are the people views of development? If people in the area where uranium exist have a choice to choose between development ( better facilities, basic amenities, schools, hospitals, roads and other forms of infrastructures  and Uranium mining,  what will they choose development or Uranium mining? Will only uranium mining bring development? What about other forms of development? Stop using uranium mining as an equivalent of development. Why do we think, talk, debate, address and focus diligently and aggressively about West Khasi Hills only in relation to Uranium mining? There are many crucial issues of livelihood that needs to be addressed that have ravaged the West Khasi Hills since the timber ban in 1996.

The most crucial question is whether uranium mining will bring sustainable development? After all, the United Nations, scholars, experts of all hues have stressed the need, relevance and multiplier effect of sustainable development. Are we as a State and the People going forward or backwards? In the long run who will benefit from uranium mining and at what cost? Look at what coal and limestone mining has done to the ecology of the areas. What will be the impact of uranium mining which is highly radioactive? And lastly, why not have road projects or other projects all over West Khasi Hills and take it as a Special Focus District? Why is the Nongstoin-Wahkaji-Mawthabah road a priority? Some might argue that nuclear power energy is eco-friendly and cost effective, but uranium mining is not. After all, our State still has a plethora of alternative energy resources. The problem is that we want shortcuts; we are wary and lethargic about finding genuine and effective ways of development. Development has become cosmetic. It has also become a government departmental issue. There is no such thing as people-centred and integrated-development approach. We still need to learn more from Japan and other Scandinavian countries. Do we still have the capacity to learn? Is it still relevant to ask whether the future of the State lies in the hands of the people, the State or some vested interest(s)?

Yours etc,

U D Tmar,

Shillong-6

Much ado about RG’s forty winks

Editor,
This refers to your report “Rahul caught ‘napping’ in LS, Cong says he was resting” (ST- July 21, 2016). It is surprising that Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi was caught ‘dozing off” while the House was discussing the atrocities on Dalit youths in the past few days and subsequent Dalit protests. It reveals the Rahul’s disinterest in the parliament proceedings and has caused a major embarrassment to The Congress party when it was heatedly raising the anti-Dalit violence in Gujarat. It shows that he is not serious about issues related to Dalits and their welfare. The Union Home Minister has rightly commented, “It shows that his heart is not on providing justice to Dalit victims. He just wants to do politics. If he was really interested in ensuring justice, then he would not be sleeping.” In other words, sleeping in Parliament is not a crime. Relaxing and dozing for a short period should never be considered as offensive and make to look harsh and rude.  If one closes the eyes and sits in concentration it does not translate into sleeping. The timing for parliament should be changed to fit in a right atmosphere to stay awake and to have a healthy debate. To doze off is human. To ignore is divine.
Your etc.,
Vinod C. Dixit
Ahmedabad – 380 015

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