MAC: Mines and Communities

Press Release from Movement against Uranium Project, India

Published by MAC on 2005-02-16

Despite strident opposition, the Uranium Corporation of India is attempting to revive a potentially deadly uranium project.

Press Release Movement against Uranium Project, Hyderabad, India

February 16 2005

The notification issued by the Andhra Pradesh Pollution Control Board, for conducting an Environmental Public Hearing on 3rd March 2005 for Uranium Corporation of India Limited to set up the Uranium Processing Plant at Seripally village in Devarakonda mandal of Nalgonda district, sounds again a death knell to six districts of the State, if not more. It is shocking to know that after such strong protests and opposition from local villages, state level civil society groups and national level experts last year against the project, the new government should encourage such proposals again.

The A.P.PCB had conducted a similar public hearing in 2003, for extracting uranium from Peddagattu-Lambapur villages and processing the same at Mallapur village in PA Pally mandal. The Hyderabad Metro Water works had strongly objected to the project as it has potential for contaminating the drinking water of the twin cities. The PCB committee had taken a decision to reject the processing plant for reasons unstated. However, without providing any accurate information to the public, the PCB has again entertained proposals from UCIL at another site in Seripally village. The local people and the public at large are being kept in the dark about both the processing plant and the mine site inspite of the fact that uranium is one of the most hazardous minerals and contains potent radioactive material, which has dangerous health consequences.

The proposed uranium project completely ignores the serious issue of contamination of Nagarjunasagar, the biggest reservoir in the State. The mine site is 1.5 kms from the reservoir which is in blatant violation of the Supreme Court directives that no industry should be set up within 10 kms of a water body, leave alone one which has radioactive substances! Several water bodies and streams flow through the project area and tailings ponds and join the reservoir.

The mine tailings are proposed to be stored in Mudikonda Reserved Forest. We do not know if UCIL has obtained clearance from MoEF to divert forestland for such a destructive non-forest activity. The mined ore will be transported 54 kms on the Hyderabad-Guntur highway by open trucks from Peddagattu to Seripally in the most unsafe manner as is clearly visible in Jaduguda.

When the government and UCIL are deliberately ignoring the hazardous impacts caused by their activities to the tribals in Jaduguda and the serious reproductive and terminal illnesses they face, what is the guarantee that any precautions will be taken by a company, which has such a disastrous track record?

We demand to know on what grounds the sites have been shifted and how radiation impacts will be avoided? We want the PCB and the government to come clean on their decision with regards the mine before they call for a public hearing of the plant. The present Congress party in power had demanded for setting up of a committee in 2003 but now we do not know on what basis it is proposing the project. We strongly oppose the project as we do not want another Jaduguda in Andhra Pradesh and until UCIL addresses the serious environment and social disasters it created in Jaduguda.

Capt.J.Rama Rao, Convener
Hyderabad Movement Against Uranium Project (M.A.U.P.)
540, Rd No.12, Banjarahills,
Hyderabad ­ 500 034

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