MAC: Mines and Communities

UCIL under fire in India

Published by MAC on 2005-03-03

UCIL under fire

The Hindu

March 03, 2005

Andhra Pradesh - Surendra Gadekar and Sanghamitra of Sampurna Kranti Vidyalaya, Gujarat, visited the UCIL mining site at Peddagattu on Wednesday. Speaking to The Hindu on their return from the area, the couple took exception to the UCIL's move to take up the project without going for a health study.

``The UCIL is in the habit of arguing that there is no health hazard due to the project. If we complete a health survey before establishing the plant, it will help us to make a comparison at a later stage,'' they said expressing their opposition to the mining of uranium.

Dr. Surendra, who did a survey on the radiation levels at Jaduguda, alleged that the UCIL was least bothered about locals, its employees and officers. They couple found fault with the Atomic Energy Commission's "desperate attempt'' to extract uranium from all available sources. Activists of Movement Against Uranium Project -- Kishan Rao and Ambika -- accompanied the couple.

Stage set for public hearing on proposed uranium plant

By Our Staff Reporter, The Hindu

March 03, 2005

Devarakonda (Nalgondda DT) - The stage is set for Thursday's public hearing on the Rs. 372-crore uranium processing plant proposed to be constructed at Seripally in Devarkonda mandal by the Uranium Corporation of India Limited.

The Jana Vignana Vedika and the Movement Against Uranium Project have made all-out efforts to mobilise public opinion against the plant, which according to them can pose a great risk for local people. The UCIL is countering the argument with the help of those who were taken for a field visit to its main plant at Jaduguda in Jharkhand.

The UCIL has been broadcasting video clippings containing the versions of the 30-odd locals, who spoke for the project on their return from Jaduguda, in Siticable. According to sources, an UCIL official met them a couple of times in the last week to impress upon them to mobilise tribals in favour of the plant during the public hearing.

Meanwhile, the irate villagers of Seripally allegedly burnt down UCIL posters after preventing its supporters from entering into their village last evening. Following the incident, the Pollution Control Board is said to have decided to organise the public hearing near the main road, not in Seripally village as was announced by it in its notification. A large number of policemen are drawn to deploy in and around the venue suspecting trouble from the villagers.

In an attempt to educate people on the ill-effects of uranium, the JVV activists staged street plays and asked people to participate in the public hearing in large numbers. The Lions Club also extending support to the movement against the plant.

However, A. Madhusudan Rao, the UCIL official, who was at Devarakonda yesterday said: "Opposition from locals is a common thing for any big project. While 90 per cent people support it, the remaining 10 per cent will always oppose it.''

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