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Meghalaya notifies committee to study uranium mining

By Raju Das

SHILLONG, Feb 17 � Meghalaya Deputy Chief Minister Bindo Lanong and in-charge Mining and Geology, would head a 33-member committee to examine the impact of uranium mining in the State.

The committee has been dubbed Joint Committee on Uranium Mining in Meghalaya (JCUMM). It comprises Ministers, government officials, scientists and members from social organisations.

The core group would examine various aspects related to health, environment, public safety and other issues related to uranium mining.

Although the committee was formed on November 4 last year the notification was issued only yesterday and the committee would submit its report to the government within three months.

Last Year, the Congress-led Meghalaya United Alliance Government had decided to lease out 422 hectares of land in West Khasi Hills district to the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) for 30 years. The corporation in turn pledged Rs 209 crore to develop the district.

However, organisations opposed to Uranium mining in Meghalaya carried out agitations in the form of road blocks and office picketing against the government�s decision to lease out the land.

The State Government was forced to rethink on its decision and subsequently it kept all matters relating to Uranium mining on hold and formed the committee.

Apart from the Deputy Chief Minister, Minister for Public Health Engineering and Science and Technology, Prestone Tynsong and AT Mondal respectively, Chief Secretary WMS Pariat, Director General of Police S Kakati, NEHU professors from the departments of Biochemistry, Chemistry, Environmental Science and Physics would be part of the committee.

Amongst the NGOs, the Khasi Students� Union, the Coordination Committee of Social Organisations, a federation of social organisations and Associations of Meghalaya for Development Advancement (AMDA), a pro-Uranium lobby is also part of the committee.

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