India: the hills are alive with the sounds of protestPublished by MAC on 2008-09-16
Khasi Hills 'no' to mining
Youth body asks Centre to 'forget' its uranium plan
The Telegraph (Kolkata)
28th August 2008
Shillong, Aug. 28: A powerful organisation of uranium-rich villages of Meghalaya today asked the Centre to "forget" about mining uranium in West Khasi Hills, as it would continue to oppose any move to put people's health at risk.
The Langrin Youth Welfare Association (LYWA) is an NGO comprising representatives from 15 villages in West Khasi Hills.
Langrin is around 80km from Nongstoin, the district headquarters of West Khasi Hills, where 50 villages have been tagged as uranium-rich.
The welfare association is opposed to uranium mining because of the effects of radiation, general secretary of the organisation Andreas Lyngdoh said at a new conference today.
The organisation also rejected the Rs 800 crore compensatory package offered by the Centre for development of villages in the district.
"We will not accept the financial package and we want to tell the government of India to forget about uranium mining in the Khasi Hills," Lyngdoh said.
The NGO spoke about the need for constituting an independent team of experts to assess the impact of the proposed uranium mining in West Khasi Hills.
Lyngdoh alleged that after the 1992 exploratory work for uranium mining in the district, several children from Langpa Nongmluh and Phlangdiloin villages were taken ill. Shoals of fish in Kynshi and Rilang rivers died after the drilling work. "We hope that an independent team of experts would be able to assess the impact of health hazards," he said.
Lyngdoh criticised the Union cabinet secretary, K.M. Chandrashekar, and the chairman of Atomic Energy Commission, Anil Kakodkar, for failing to invite the rural organisation for talks on uranium mining.
"We fail to understand why the central leaders ignored the voice of the people in the uranium mining sites and invited only the urban-based NGOs for their views on uranium mining," Lyngdoh said.
He said during the public hearing in West Khasi Hills in June 12 last year, 85 per cent of the people had rejected the proposal of Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) to mine uranium.
A large number of villagers would be displaced because of the project, he said.
Mining doubts linger Experts fail to convince Meghalaya parties
23rd August 2008
Shillong, Aug. 22: Union cabinet secretary K.M. Chandrashekar and Atomic Energy Commission chairman Anil Kakodkar today failed to convince the all-party committee on uranium mining and non-governmental organisations in Meghalaya on the need to carry out uranium mining in the state.
The emissaries of the Prime Minister's Office and experts of the Atomic Energy Commission held separate meetings with the all-party committee and the NGOs on uranium mining in West Khasi Hills district.