New Uranium Mining Projects - Meghalaya, India
(last updated 21 Apr 2016)
Kylleng-Pyndemsohiong-Mawthabah (formerly Domiasiat)
Kylleng-Pyndemsohiong-Mawthabah (formerly Domiasiat)
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Meghalaya regional parties committed to anti-uranium mining stand
The three regional parties - United Democratic Party (UDP), Hill State People's Democratic Party (HSPDP) and Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) - have reiterated their opposition to mining of uranium in the State in their manifestoes for the upcoming district council elections.
(The Shillong Times Feb. 17, 2014)
Fish kill in West Khasi Hills rivers blamed on uranium exploration
The Khasi Students Union (KSU) has blamed the exploration of uranium ore by Maheshwari Mining Private Limited at Porkut area, Nongri in West Khasi Hills for the death of the large number of fishes along Kynshi and Rilang rivers.
"There is no doubt that the death of the fishes is due to exploration of uranium ore. We have been informed that the number of death of fishes have increased after heavy rain in Ranikor area," KSU South West Khasi Hills general secretary Peter Kharnaior said here on Saturday (April 14).
Stating that the mine holes which the mining company had dug for exploration of uranium ore were left uncovered, he said that the fishes have died due to the wastes which have floated from the uncovered holes into the rivers after heavy rainfall in the area.
"According to the villagers, the death of the fishes was first reported on April 5. But the number of fishes which died along the two rivers have increased in the past two days," Kharnaior said.
(The Shillong Times April 15, 2012)
The official probe into the death of fish at the river near Indo-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya has ruled out exploratory drilling for uranium as the cause of death of fish, officials said today. Geologists - R B Surong and E Nongbri - submitted their report to the government today even as they did not categorically stated the exact reasons behind the unnatural death of fishes.
(PTI Apr. 19, 2012)
Meghalaya may shift Kynshi hydro power project for uranium deposits
The Meghalaya government is contemplating shifting the proposed 450 MW Kynshi hydro electric project due to the presence of uranium deposits on the banks of the Kynshi river, an official said Saturday (Dec. 17).
"We are contemplating to shift the power project from the present site to the downstream of the river after the Atomic Minerals Division (AMD) report on the uranium deposits," Additional Chief Secretary (power) B.K. Dev Varma told IANS.
Varma said 300 to 400 acres [1.2 to 1.6 square kilometres] of land will be submerged if the hydro project is constructed at the present site.
The AMD has already written to the Meghalaya government objecting to the project on the ground that there are uranium deposits on the bank of Kynshi river.
The Kynshi project is in Meghalaya's West Khasi Hills district, known for rich deposits of uranium.
(HydroWorld Dec. 17, 2011)
District Council issued drilling permit, unaware that it was for uranium exploration
The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC), which gave permission to the Maheshwari Mining Pvt Ltd , to conduct drilling operations at Porkut-Nongjri, Nongstoin in West Khasi Hills was caught unawares as the Council has not clue on the mineral the company has been looking for.
The KHADC issued a trading license to the company - authorised by the Atomic Minerals Directorate (AMD) for Exploration of Research to conduct exploratory mining for uranium in Meghalaya - in 2009 without knowing the purpose of the drilling.
Chief Executive Member of KHADC, PN Syiem on Tuesday (July 19) could not specify the mineral the company was drilling for all these years.
After issuing the No Objection Certificate (NOC) to the company in 2009, the previous KHADC Executive Committee renewed the license in March, 2011, but the Council had to re-examine the whole matter following complaints from NGOs in May this year.
The KHADC asked the Maheshwari Mining Pvt Ltd to surrender its trading license on June 1 following various anomalies found in its documents.
The company was also accused of violating the terms and conditions put forward by the office of Nongstoin Syiemship while issuing the NOC.
The Khasi Students Union (KSU) unit alleged that the company had undertaken drilling for unknown natural resources by felling trees in a vast area, caused pollution by discharging waste materials into natural streams and also engaged a lot of labourers from outside the State.
(The Shillong Times July 20, 2011)
National Board on Wildlife rejects uranium mining project in Balpakram:
The Environment Ministry's National Board on Wildlife (NBWL) today rejected the uranium mining project in Balpakram National Park in Meghalaya after stiff opposition from various quarters. The decision to reject the proposal of Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) was taken in New Delhi at a meeting of the Standing Committee of the NBWL headed by Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh.
(PTI May 13, 2010)
The Meghalaya government today (Apr. 29) decided to keep "in abeyance" the proposed exploratory drilling of uranium in Balpakram National Park in South Garo Hills district in view of stiff opposition from various quarters.
Sources said at a meeting with a Garo Students' Union delegation here, chief minister Mukul Sangma said the state government would not go against the wishes of the people by allowing the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) carry out exploratory drilling in the park.
The state government would also discuss with the ministry of environment and forests about the proposed visit of a National Board for Wildlife team to Balpakram.
"The state government has upheld our appeal not to allow the DAE conduct exploratory drilling and hurt the sentiments of the people," GSU general secretary Sanjeeb A. Sangma told reporters after meeting (Mukul) Sangma.
(April 29, 2010)
Balpakram Anti-Uranium Mining Forum launched:
A public meeting held at Tura on Wednesday (Apr. 28) decided to oppose the proposed exploratory drilling in Balpakram National Park.
The meeting attended by the members of Seniors Citizens' Forum, intellectuals, leaders of various NGOs including GSU, Post Graduate Garo Students' Unions, Tura Government College Student Union, the Garo Graduates Union, Tura Chambers of Commerce, and the Council of Nokmas unanimously decided to launch a movement under the banner "Balpakram Anti-Uranium Mining Forum".
Former Lok Sabha Speaker PA Sangma was unanimously elected as the president of the forum.
(The Shillong Times 29 Apr 2010)
Citizens' forum opposes proposed uranium mining in Balpakram National Park:
The Tura A'chik (Garo) senior citizens forum has opposed the move to mine uranium by denotifying an area of 8.0 square km in Rongcheng plateau of Balpakram National Park.
The senior citizens forum had an emergent meeting at Tura, attended by members of the Asima Dingsima Rangsaljong Association (ADRA), and opposed the move by the Department of Atomic Energy to denotify the area for proposed uranium mining.
(The Shillong Times 29 Apr 2010)
The National Board of Wildlife (NBWL) has given the nod to exploratory drilling of uranium in the South Garo Hills in Meghalaya.
(The Shillong Times 22 Apr 2010)
The National Board for Wild Life (NBWL) has decided to undertake a site inspection of the uranium deposit in Balpakram National Park in the State in response to the proposal submitted by the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) to de-notify an area of 8 square kilometers at Rongcheng Plateau in Balpakram National Park for exploratory uranium mining.
Meanwhile, the Garo Hills Anti-Mining Forum (GHAMF) has opposed the proposal of the Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) to carry out exploratory Uranium mining inside Balpakram National Park.
(The Shillong Times 16 Apr 2010)
Uranium Corporation of India has sought for No-objection Certificate from the Ministry of Environment & Forest , Government of India to look for a possibility of Uranium in Balpakram National Park (BNP), one of India's bio-diversity rich area home to some of the worlds endangered flora and fauna.
Balpakram National Park located in South Garo Hills district of Meghalaya is already facing threat from poachers and illegal coal mining activities. Time and again media and environmentalists have raised the issue of illegal mining in BNP, situated along the Indo-Bangla border. The national park known for its varied species of flora and fauna and endangered plant and animal species is a popular tourist attraction.
Prosper Marak, a young environmentalist and president of Garo Student Union in an interview last November informed that UCIL has sought for clearance from the concerned authorities to look for a possibility on the presence of uranium in Balpakram. The young environmentalist led by his student body has not only strongly criticized the move but has already taken up measures to ensure that this initiative will not be materialized. The student body is up against the UCIL to save the mother earth.
(NETV Feb. 9, 2010)
Assam, Meghalaya state governments clash over potential uranium discovery in border area
The potential discovery of uranium in a remote village, bereft of roads and electricity, inside the dense forests of the Assam-Meghalaya border, has sparked a major border row between the two states.
The contentious village is just 97 km from Guwahati and predominately populated by Nepali, Garo and Khasi people.
While the Khasis are in favour of being with Meghalaya, the Nepalis and Garos want to be with Assam.
(UNI June 2, 2008)
Australia to invest in uranium mining in Meghalaya
Australia is keen to invest in Meghalaya for uranium mining operations and share the technologies for safe mining, Australian High Commissioner to India John Philip McCarthy said in Shillong.
(Zee News Limited May 21, 2007)
(formerly Domiasiat project)
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Uranium mining in the West Khasi Hills is opposed by Khasi Students Union (KSU), Langrin Youth Welfare Association (LYWA), Women Against Uranium Mining (WAUM).
NGOs demand cancellation of road construction project required for proposed uranium mine
Stating that the two lane road project of the Centre from Nongstoin to Mawthabah is not for development but to facilitate the mining of uranium in the area, NGOs of West Khasi Hills (WKH) district have demanded that the Centre cancels the project immediately.
The NGOs Khasi Students Union (KSU) Umdohlun Circle and Phlangmawprah Unit and Langrin Youth Welfare Association (LYWA) also expressed their strong opposition against the project which they say is a move to mine Uranium.
(Meghalaya Times Apr. 21, 2016)
India abandons plans for uranium mine project at Kylleng-Pyndeng-Sohiong in Meghalaya
After a protracted debate the Centre has finally decided not to go ahead with the proposed mining of uranium in Meghalaya following stiff opposition from the local people. According to official sources here, while prospects for new uranium mines had emerged in states like Meghalaya, Himachal and Uttarakhand, issues, such as unstable hilly terrain and opposition from locals, had forced the government to go slow in taking up mining projects in these areas. But uranium mining under the authority of the Department of Atomic Energy could only be implemented when large funding requirements are assured from the Centre, not only for mining but also for research and development. It is pointed out that in Meghalaya several political parties representing ethnic and tribal sections had been running movements against uranium mining, and government could not ignore the opposition given the strategic location of the State and the sensitivities of minority communities.
While information on uranium reserves in general, and Meghalaya in particular, are not readily available from government agencies, as it is categorised as a 'strategic mineral', unofficial reports estimated the reserves in the State to range between 9 000 t and 14 000 t, ranking third among all other uranium-rich provinces in the country after Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh. The ores are spread over a mountainous terrain in deposits varying from eight to 47 meters from the surface in and around Domiasiat, 135 km west from here.
(The Shillong Times July 22, 2015)
District Council opposes uranium mine project at Kylleng-Pyndeng-Sohiong in Meghalaya
Unlike in the past years, the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) under the present executive committee led by regional parties, has made its stand clear that in no way would the council allow mining of uranium to take place at Kylleng-Pyndeng-Sohiong.
"We would like to make our stand clear that we will never allow mining of uranium to take place," current KHADC chief executive member (CEM) Ardent M. Basaiawmoit said today.
(The Telegraph July 15, 2014)
Neighbouring villages urge start of uranium mining in Meghalaya
In a fresh demand for uranium mining in state, as many as seven villages in and around the uranium mining sites in West Khasi Hills have urged the State Government to start mining.
The general secretary of Kylleng-Pyndeng Sohiong Uranium Land Owners' Association, Heasdiengland Lyngdoh Sangriang told reporters that the villagers were ready for uranium mining and that the State Government should give its nod in this regard.
Sangriang, who is also the Chairman of the association of six villages, said that, besides Mawthabh, other six villages Nongbah Jynring, Nongtnger, Nongmalang, New Nongtnger, Lang Myndia and Mawiawlang have welcomed the uranium mining project.
(Shillong Times July 10, 2014)
India approves Kylleng-Pyndemsohiong-Mawthabah uranium mine project (Meghalaya)
India's Forest and Environment Ministry has given clearance to the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) to start uranium mining in Meghalaya, a mountainous and ecologically fragile province in north-east India.
UCIL has earmarked an investment of $229-million to develop the uranium reserves in Meghalaya.
The clearance comes despite decades of opposition to uranium exploration and mining in the province by locals claiming to be victims of radiation and toxic waste resulting from exploratory drillings by UCIL.
India's Department of Atomic Energy (DAE), the central governing body for all mining, processing and enrichment of atomic minerals, has estimated a uranium reserve of some 9,500 t in Meghalaya. However, plans for an opencast mine to extract the mineral from the West Khasi Hills have been hanging fire since 1992 on fears of radiation and environmental hazards.
(Mining Weekly Apr. 26, 2012)
Meghalaya state government concerned about negative impacts of Kylleng-Pyndemsohiong-Mawthabah uranium mine project
Mining and Geology Minister Bindo M Lanong has indirectly declared the State Government's skepticism about the proposed uranium mining project asking the Centre to come clear on the possible hazards by the project.
"Rather than highlight the positive prospects of uranium mining on their presentation, they should try to stress more on the negative aspects of this project," Deputy Chief Minister in-charge Mining and Geology, Bindo M Lanong, told reporters on Monday (Nov. 15).
He added people would be more eager to know how to address the various problems, environmental and health, which would emerge from the mining of uranium.
The Deputy CM was referring to the recent meeting with Department of Atomic Energy (DAE) and Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL) officials on the project.
The Government had said the Central team could not continue with its "same old presentation" to convince the people about the mining of uranium.
"The anti-uranium campaign in the State is growing in strength. At present, majority of the people oppose the project," Lanong confirmed.
The Central Government should go slow with the proposed uranium mining project; it should respect the sentiments of the people, he said.
The present State Government has a totally different, holistic approach to the whole issue, in comparison to the previous Government led by DD Lapang, he added.
(The Shillong Times 16 Nov. 2010)
India no longer in a hurry to mine uranium in Meghalaya, as imports ease supply problem
The Centre is now in no hurry in getting the uranium in Meghalaya explored following recent deals to procure the mineral from various countries.
"The Centre was earlier very eager to get uranium from the State, but the situation has changed now as the country is getting enough uranium from outside after signing agreements some countries," Union Minister Vincent Pala here on Saturday (Sep. 25).
The Centre has no intention to put any kind of pressure on the State on the proposed uranium mining project, Pala said.
New deposits were also found somewhere in Andhra Pradesh, he said.
However, admitting that the Centre is going slow on the project in West Khasi Hills, Pala said this does not mean that the former no longer wants the uranium from the State.
The Union Minister of State for Water Resources assured that "until and unless the common people welcome it, the Union Government will not go ahead with the project".
(The Shillong Times Sep. 26, 2010)
State assembly panel gives go-ahead for uranium mining in Meghalaya
A Meghalaya assembly panel Friday (Mar. 19) recommended that the government take up a uranium mining project in the West Khasi Hills district without further delay but subject to some conditions.
The 10-member committee, headed by Congress legislator H.D.R. Lyngdoh, made the suggestion regarding the Kylleng Pyndengsohiong Mawthabah uranium mining project in its report tabled in the assembly.
Lyngdoh heads the committee on Welfare of Scheduled Tribe/Castes and Other Backward Classes in the Meghalaya assembly.
The panel, which visited several uranium mining sites at Jadugoda in Jharkhand and the Uranium Corp of India Ltd (UCIL) units, found that miners who had worked in uranium sites and processing plants for 30-35 years had suffered no radiation effects.
The members visited the proposed Kylleng Pyndengsohiong Mawthabah (KPM) uranium mining site in the West Khasi Hills.
However, the committee recommended that the government set up a dedicated health service unit and environmental survey laboratory by UCIL to monitor the workplace and environment at the mining site.
The unit should be independent of administrative control of UCIL so that proper reports are available, it said.
It also wanted UCIL to hold medical camps in surrounding villages at least once in a week to provide free medical check-ups and medicines.
UCIL should also provide assistance in literacy and education programmes to the locals.
(IANS Mar. 19, 2010)
Meghalaya State government forms uranium panel
The State government has formed a 33-member committee to go into the various aspects of uranium mining in the West Khasi Hills district.
The committee comprising members from various NGOs, experts from both the governmental and private along with Ministers has been asked to give its report within three months. The first meeting of the committee is yet to be fixed.
On November 4 last year after a meeting with the anti-mining groups the government had announced that a committee would be constituted to scrutinize issues involved in the mining.
The government had also assured that any decision on uranium mining in West Khasi Hills would be taken only after examining the report of the joint committee.
The committee will examine the issues related to health, environment and public safety in the before carrying out the actual mining.
(Shillong Times 16 Feb 2010)
The first meeting of the joint committee on uranium mining was today (Mar. 2) boycotted by groups opposing the quarrying of the radioactive mineral in Meghalaya.
The boycott by Khasi Students Union (KSU) and Co-ordination Committee of Social Organisations (CCSO) was prompted by the inclusion of a pro-mining group, the Associations of Meghalaya for Development and Advancement (AMDA), in the joint committee.
(The Telegraph Mar. 2, 2010)
Meghalaya government suspends pre-mining development activities for uranium mine
Meghalaya today decided to keep in abeyance for three months activities related to uranium mining and form a joint committee, involving pressure groups, on the issue.
The government's move came after a meeting, chaired by chief minister D.D. Lapang, with the Khasi Student's Union (KSU) and the Co-ordination Committee of Social Organisations, a forum of anti-uranium mining groups.
The meeting decided not to undertake the Rs 2.09 billion [US$ 44.4 million] pre-mining development projects at the mining sites of West Khasi Hills for three months.
Lapang told reporters after the meeting that a joint committee on uranium mining in Meghalaya would be constituted. It will have seven members, including experts from the KSU and the Co-ordination Committee of Social Organisations and government representatives.
The committee will examine all issues related to uranium mining within three months and submit the findings to the government.
(The Telegraph Nov. 5, 2009)
Agitation against uranium mine project in Meghalaya suspended after talks offered by state government
The Khasi Students Union (KSU) on Wednesday (Oct. 28) suspended its agitation against the proposed uranium mining project after the Meghalaya government invited it for talks.
Chief Minister D.D. Lapang said on Tuesday night that the State government would hold discussions with the union if it called off the agitation.
The group had called another round of night road blockades from October 29, sources said.
(The Hindu Oct. 29, 2009)
Violent incidents mark second road blockade against proposed uranium mine in Meghalaya
Four more vehicles, including three belonging to the government, and two government offices were set on fire, five Border Security Force (BSF) personnel injured in a petrol bomb attack and three KSU members arrested in separate incidents of violence as the KSU road blockade entered the second night on Wednesday (Oct. 21).
(The Shillong Times Oct. 22, 2009)
Violent incidents marked the first night of the KSU-sponsored road blockade with reports of lobbing of petrol bomb, pelting of stones and burning of tyres in certain pockets of Khasi, Jaintia and Ri-Bhoi districts.
In Jaintia Hills, unidentified persons pelted stones on vehicles plying on the highway. Four buses were damaged at Mynkre village. Some passengers were reportedly received injuries in the attacks. Three trucks were also damaged at Umrangsong village.
In another incident, two buses hired by Assam Rifles jawans were also stoned and damaged. Some persons also pelted stones on two vehicles used by a Police patrol party.
Incidents of tyre burning were reported from different places including Mihmyntdu near Forest Office, Phramer, Wapung, Mookhep and Ladrymbai.
There were also reports of sporadic incidents in Shillong before and during the blockade hours. An unidentified person lobbed a petrol bomb on a vehicle parked on the Mecofed office premises in Lumdiengjri on Tuesday afternoon. The vehicle belonged to Mecofed General Manager.
The streets in the State capital wore a deserted look soon after road blockade started. Police personnel were seen patrolling various parts of the city. Police personnel have also been deployed along the National Highways to escort vehicles plying during blockade.
Barely a few hours after the commencement of the blockade, it was reported that unidentified persons stoned a vehicle belonging to Meghalaya State Electricity Board (MeSEB) at Mawkhar area on Tuesday night.
(The Shillong Times Oct. 21, 2009)
Government office set on fire in Shillong
A government office was set ablaze by unidentified persons in the heart of the city of Shillong this morning. The incident comes a day before the Khasi Students Union (KSU) sponsored three-day night blockade to protest the proposed uranium mining project in the state begins.
(PTI Oct. 19, 2009)
Another government office was set ablaze in Meghalaya at midnight last night, a day ahead of the Khasi Students' Union's second phase of agitation against uranium mining. (The Telegraph Oct. 20, 2009)
Union minister asks state government to seek consent of indigenous people for uranium mine project in Meghalaya
The Union minister of state for rural development, Agatha Sangma, has asked the Meghalaya government to go slow on the uranium mining project saying opinions of all sections of people should be taken into account before going ahead with it.
Speaking to The Telegraph, Agatha said as land was precious for the indigenous people, the government should not take any hasty decision on starting the project.
According to the minister, even if the mining takes a very long time, the government should continue its effort to hold dialogues with the indigenous people before arriving at any conclusion.
"The identity of the indigenous people of the state is their land and the government should not do anything which can jeopardise their interest," Agatha said.
The agreement with the UCIL at present is that the villagers will lease the land required for uranium mining for 30 years. According to the minister, taking away the precious land of the people for uranium mining will be insensitivity.
(The Telegraph Oct. 18, 2009)
UN envoy asks government to seek consent of indigenous people before starting uranium mining in Meghalaya
A UN envoy today said the government should seek the consent of local people before taking up uranium mining in Meghalaya, an issue hanging fire for over two decades. "Such projects need participation of indigenous people. They should agree that they would like to have such a project on their land," Chairperson of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues Victoria Tauli Corpuz told reporters here. The Forum is an advisory body to the Economic and Social Council, with a mandate to discuss indigenous issues related to economic and social development, culture, environment, education, health and human rights.
(PTI Oct. 15, 2009)
Night road blockade against proposed uranium mine in Meghalaya
The first night of a two-night road blockade turned violent: coal-laden trucks were attacked with petrol bombs and one government vehicle was set on fire.
The Khasi Students' Union (KSU), which is spearheading the movement against the proposed uranium mining in the State has called for a two-night road blockade in the four districts of East Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills, Jaintia Hills and Ri-Bhoi from October 14.
The blockade was called in protest against the Cabinet's decision to allow UCIL to implement 'pre-project' developmental programmes in Mawthabah, West Khasi Hills.
The night road blockade begins from 7 pm October 14 to 5 am on October 15 and again from 9 pm on October 15 till 5 am on October 16.
(The Shillong Times Oct. 14/15, 2009)
Picketing against uranium project paralyses government functioning in Meghalaya
Functioning in government offices was today paralysed in Meghalaya in view of picketing held by Khasi Students Union (KSU) in protest against the proposed uranium mining project in the state. The impact of the picketing was more in the capital city, with offices either remaining closed or recording very thin attendance, officials said, adding the state secretariat also wore a deserted look while banks remained closed.
(PTI Oct. 9, 2009)
Thousands attend rally against proposed uranium mine in Meghalaya
Intensifying its protests against the State Cabinet's decision on pre-project development programmes of UCIL as well as the proposed mining of uranium, Khasi Student Union (KSU) has warned the Centre not to bulldoze its way through in implementing the project.
The KSU vowed that the anti-uranium groups would not budge from its stated position on the pre-project development package of UCIL and would continue to contest the government's decision which they termed as "dreaded and against the voice of the majority."
Addressing a public rally at Motphran (on Oct. 6) attended by thousands of people, KSU president Samuel B Jyrwa said in the name of development the State government through its Cabinet attempted to fool the people and tried to cover up the ill effects of uranium mining and the impact of radiation.
Terming Mr Lapang's statement as 'childish and irresponsible' when he expressed his apprehension that the Centre might forcefully mine uranium from the State, the KSU leader cautioned the Centre to desist from applying force in order to materialise its plan to mine the ore from the State.
(The Shillong Times 7 Oct 2009)
Rally in New Delhi against nuclear power and uranium mining
> View here
Thousands attend rally against proposed uranium mine in Meghalaya
The public rally organized by Khasi Student Union (KSU), Mairang circle at Mairang on Wednesday (Sep. 30) was attended by thousands of people from the area besides prominent leaders of the student body from Shillong.
The rally was among a series of public rallies being organised by the KSU to create awareness among the people of the health hazards connected with uranium mining in the wake of the MUA-Government's decision to grant permission to the UCIL to undertake pre-development programmes in specified areas in the uranium belt of West Khasi Hills. The move is seen as the first step towards facilitating mining of uranium found in Mawthabah, Domiasiat, Phodkylleng and Pyndengsohiong and other nearby villages.
(The Shillong Times 1 Oct 2009)
Traditional Khasi outfit criticises Meghalaya government's approval of pre-development projects for proposed uranium mine
The Meghalaya government's decision to allow pre-development projects for uranium mining at Wahkaji was today criticised by a traditional Khasi outfit on grounds that it posed environmental hazards. Spokesman and adviser of the Federation of Twenty Five Khasi States of Meghalaya, John F Kharshiing said the white paper submitted by Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) to the erstwhile Donkupar Roy government was unsatisfactory and inadequate as the project posed serious health and environmental hazards. A study of the white paper revealed that project activity would require large uninterrupted supply of water for which water resources in and around the project area would be tapped. This would eventually cause rivers and streams around the uranium mining area to be contaminated and become unfit for human consumption.
(PTI Sep. 26, 2009)
Students stage sit-in demonstration against uranium mining in Meghalaya
Protesting the leasing of land to the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL), Khasi Students Union (KSU) staged a sit-in demonstration in front in city on Tuesday (Sep. 22).
Over 20 KSU members besides members of Langrin Youth Welfare Association (LYWA) participated in the sit-in demonstration near the Additional Secretariat here.
Tuesday's sit-in demonstration was part of series of 'peaceful agitation' announced by the students' body after the government decided to lease out the land to UCIL.
The KSU Nongstoin circle will hold a public rally on uranium at Tiehjynsieh, New Nongstoin on September 24.
(The Shillong Times 23 Sep 2009)
Students protest against uranium mining in Meghalaya
Protesting against the proposed uranium mining in the state, activists of Khasi Students Union (KSU) in Meghalaya today burnt effigies of Chief Minister D D Lapang and Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL). The students opposing the project fear that uranium mining would affect the environment and open floodgates of infiltration in the state. (PTI Sep. 18, 2009)
Meghalaya to lease land for UCIL's developmental works
On Aug. 24, 2009, Meghalaya agreed to lease land to the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) for 30 years in the uranium-rich West Khasi Hills district for "pre-project" developmental works, which, it said, should not be linked with mining. "This pre-project developmental work would provide better schooling, hospitals and roads to the people. We have agreed to release 422 hectares of land for 30 years," Chief Minister D D Lapang told reporters after a cabinet meeting.
(The Shillong Times 24 Aug 2009)
NGOs oppose proposal to exempt the uranium mining areas in Mawthabah from the purview of the Land Transfer Act
To facilitate uranium mining in Meghalaya, the state government is considering exempting the Land Transfer Act from the uranium rich belt in Mawthabah so that the Uranium Corporation of India (UCIL) can set up a processing unit there. However, Chief Minister D D Lapang's move has been criticised by NGOs who are opposed to uranium mining.
The Land Transfer Act, introduced in 1972, bars non-tribals from buying or transferring land in Meghalaya. Under the Land Transfer Act, the UCIL cannot go ahead with the mining without clearance from the District Council and the state government.
(Indian Express Aug. 11, 2009)
The Government's proposal to exempt the uranium mining areas in Mawthabah from the purview of the Land Transfer Act (LTA), as expected, was protested by two prominent NGOs - the KSU and Langrin Youth Welfare Association (LYWA) - spearheading the anti-uranium campaign.
(The Shillong Times Aug. 10, 2009)
Uranium mining project in Meghalaya to begin latest by 2010
Meghalaya Governor Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary has said that the controversial uranium mining project in the State would begin latest by 2010.
Memebers of Synjuk ki Nongshong Shnong Langrin and Warsan Lyngdoh Area (SKNSLWLA) who met the Governor at the Raj Bhavan here recently was assured that the mining project would start by 2010 as India was running short of nuclear fuel.
SKNSLWLA is a conglomerate of organisations from Uranium-rich Phod Kylleng-Pyndeng Sohiong near Mawthabah, West Khasi Hills district in favour of the Uranium mining project.
(Assam Tribune 23 Feb 2009)
Local NGOs seek early Government approval of Mawthabah uranium project
Representatives of NGOs from areas near the proposed uranium mining site at Mawthabah, West Khasi Hills will meet Chief Minister Dr Donkupar Roy on January 29, 2009, to press the State Government for early permission to Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) to start the project.
Leaders of Langrin Warsan Lyngdoh Socio-Economic Development Organisation (LWLSEDO) and Synjuk ki Nongshongshnong ka Langrin bad Warsan Lyngdoh (SNLWL) announced this at a public rally at Nongtyngnger near Domiasiat on Jan. 13, 2009.
The delegation of LWLSEDO and SNLWL, including headmen of 30 villages surrounding the proposed uranium project site, will ask the Chief Minister to complete the process of issuing government permission to UCIL within March so as to facilitate early commencement of the mining project.
(The Shillong Times 15 Jan 2009)
NGO report finds loopholes in EIA report on uranium mining project in Meghalaya
Researchers of the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) have said that the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report for the proposed uranium mining project in Meghalaya did not address the environment and health concerns adequately.
The sixth environment report of the CSE, which was released here today, pointed out that the EIA report completely disregarded the severe impact of mining run-off, tailing ponds and the waste disposal sites during monsoons.
"The containment and management plan proposed by the EIA is inadequate as the study was not done during the monsoon period, a season that sees the run-off of radioactive particles and other wastes," Chandra Bhushan, associate director of CSE, said while releasing the report.
Bhushan said the proposal of open stockpile of 6000 tonne of uranium ore at the project site was not acceptable, and it should be a closed one.
"The EIA report did not mention the tailing management and was also silent on the effluent treatment plant," he said, quoting the CSE report titled 'Rich Land, Poor People: Is Sustainable Mining Possible.'
(Zee News 20 Oct 2008)
India invests in development of infrastructure around proposed uranium mining site in Meghalaya
In an effort to woo the anti-uranium mining groups in Meghalaya, especially after the Central delegation's recent failure to convince the NGOs and political parties for the UCIL project, the Centre has sanctioned Rs 8 billion [US$ 182 million] for development of infrastructure around the mining sites in West Khasi Hills.
The amount has been sanctioned for setting up of five rural health centres, one Kendriya Vidyalaya (Central government school for children of employees of India's central government), a polytechnic and for water supply connections in the area.
(The Shillong Times 27 Aug. 2008)
Meghalaya Government forms expert panel on uranium mining
The State Government has constituted an expert committee on health to study the implications of uranium mining by the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) in Kylleng-Pyndeng-Sohiong in West Khasi Hills district of the state.
The Expert Committee, comprising five medical doctors specialised in different areas of medicines will be headed by Dr R Nongrum, a senior surgeon in Shillong Civil Hospital.
"These government doctors will carry out a study to find out the implications of uranium mining," Meghalaya Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr Adviser Pariong told UNI.
Dr Pariong said the Health department officials would go to Domasiat where some of the local people were involved in exploration of uranium with the officials of the Atomic Mineral Division (AMD) in 1991.
"These health officials will find out the status of health of the local people who were involved in the exploration work and report to the committee," he said.
The State Health department officials will also visit Jadugoda to study the implication of mining on the local people there. (UNI)
(The Shillong Times Aug. 6, 2008)
Three expert groups to assess health effects of proposed uranium mine in Domiasiat
An all-party committee on uranium mining has decided to invite three expert groups to study the effects of radiation emitted from mining of the ore in Domiasiat, West Khasi Hills.
The decision was taken in Shillong on July 18, 2008, at the first meeting of the committee constituted by the NCP-UDP led Meghalaya Progressive Alliance (MPA) coalition government. The Congress which had earlier refused to be part of the panel also attended the sitting for evolving a consensus on uranium mining.
The three expert groups would study and verify the radiation in the State (of Meghalaya) and Jharkhand, where mining of uranium ore is going on.
Meghalaya Chief Minister and chairman of the committee Donkupar Roy told reporters soon after the meeting that the committee has decided to invite independent group of experts from the State and outside to find out facts on radiation. He said besides the independent experts from the Health department would also be involved.
Roy said doctors from the State would be sent to Jharkhand to find out the health status of the people who have been residing in and around the mining areas. However, Roy said that the government is yet to identify the experts.
He said that the committee will have a second sitting after the expert groups submit their findings.
(Assam Tribune July 21, 2008)
Traditional heads oppose uranium mining in Meghalaya
The Grassroots Democracy Advisory Council (GDAC) appealed to the people and the State Government not to allow uranium mining at any cost for the sake of the future generation while calling all the national and state political parties, who are yet to come out with their respective manifestoes on uranium mining, to specify in clear terms their stand on this serious matter.
The council comprises Ka Dorbar Ki Nongsynshar Ka Ri Hynniewtrep (Federation of 25 Khasi States), Ka Dorbar Ki Doloi and Council of Nokmas.
(The Shillong Times 9 Jan. 2008)
Khasi Students Union launches agitation against uranium mining project
The Khasi Students Union has decided to launch a three-day agitation to pressurise the Congress-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance Government not to issue a no-objection certificate to the Uranium Corporation of India Limited to mine uranium and also against the Government's "hasty decision in handing over of power projects" to five private companies.
KSU would start its agitation on January 7 by marching towards the state secretariat, followed by a road blockade on January 8 and a general strike in East, West Khasi Hills and Ri-Bhoi districts on January 9, 2008.
(Indian Express Jan. 4, 2008)
Environmental clearance granted for uranium mine in Meghalaya
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests has allowed Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) to commence uranium mining in Meghalaya.
The ministry has given environmental clearance to set up the proposed Kylleng-Pyndengshohiong Uranium Mining and Processing Plant of the UCIL, official sources said.
The clearance has been given for an annual production capacity of 375,000 tonnes of uranium ore by opencast mechanised method and processing of 1500 tonnes per day of ore processing plant involving total land requirement of 351 ha at Mawthabahn in West Khasi Hills district.
The clearance is subject to implementation of certain conditions and environmental safeguards which has been intimated to the UCIL, sources added.
(The Economic Times Dec. 30, 2007)
Police kills five militants in Meghalaya
On Oct. 30, 2007, members of a Special Operations Team (SOT) of Meghalaya police killed five militants of the Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC). The militants allegedly had planned an attempt on the life of Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) Chief Executive Member HS Shylla for being in favour of uranium mining in Meghalaya.
(The Shillong Times Oct. 31, 2007)
5-Night road blockade against uranium mining project in Meghalaya
The KSU-sponsored night road blockade started at 7 p.m. on June 19, 2007, in the city of Shillong. The blockade which covers East Khasi Hills, West Khasi Hills and Ri-Bhoi districts was called by the student body to press for the release of five of its activists including central organising secretary Daniel Khyriem who are being detained under Meghalaya Preventive Detention Act (MPDA).
(The Shillong Times June 20, 2007)
Majority at public hearing says no to uranium mining
A majority of the people attending the public hearing on uranium mining at Nongbah Jynrin, West Khasi Hills on June 12, 2007, opposed the mining project.
West Khasi Hills Deputy Commissioner Freeman Kharlyngdoh said that around 700 people attended the three-hour-long public hearing conducted by the Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board (MSPCB).
"A majority of the people from the area opposed the proposed uranium mining on the ground of health hazard while those who supported the project constitute only 25 percent," Mr Kharlyngdoh said adding that villagers from the vicinity of the project site were in support of uranium mining.
Stating that villagers from adjoining areas of Nongbah Jynrin like Umdohlun, Wahkaji and Phlangdiloin were vociferous in their opposition, Mr Kharlyngdoh said that the Seng Kynthei Phlangdiloin, Langrin Youth Welfare Association (LYWA) and Warsanlyngdoh-Nobosoh-phoh Youth Awakening Organisation (WNYAO) had launched massive campaign against the project.
(The Shillong Times June 13, 2007)
36h general strike against proposed public hearing on uranium mining
On June 11, 2007, 5 a.m., began a 36h general strike in Shillong, called by the Khasi Students Union (KSU) against the proposed Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board public hearing on uranium mining. (The Shillong Times 11 June 2007)
Road blockade against proposed public hearing on uranium mining
Traffic was stalled and normal life disturbed in the Meghalaya capital following the night road blockade organised by the Khasi Students Union (KSU).
As a result of the four-day road blockade, which began at 8 pm on June 6, 2007, vehicles went off the road and residents left for their homes early.
The KSU called the road blockade in protest against the proposed public hearing on uranium mining at Nongbah-Jynrin at Mawthabah, scheduled for June 12, 2007.
(The Telegraph June 8, 2007)
Public hearing scheduled on proposed Mawthabah uranium project
The Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board (MSPCB) will hold a public hearing on the proposed Mawthabah uranium project at Nongbah Jynrin on June 12, 2007.
The Environmental Public Hearing Committee headed by MSPCB Donkupar Horoo, which was constituted on May 4, 2007, would conduct the hearing and record the views, suggestions or objections put forward by the local bonafide residents of the area.
Further, the Committee has invited suggestions, comments and objections from local villagers and environmental organisations of the area within one month on the environmental aspects of the proposed project.
(The Shillong Times May 10, 2007)
Protestors prevent road construction work for proposed uranium mine in Meghalaya
On July 20, 2006, activists of the Khasi Students' Union (KSU) and the Hill State People Democratic Party (HSPDP) opposing uranium mining, chased away the labourers engaged in construction of a road from Wahkaji to Mawthabah.
(The Shillong Times 21 July 2006)
BARC report rules out health hazards from proposed uranium mining in Meghalaya
A Bhaba Atomic Research Centre (BARC) report has ruled out any impact on health by radiation due to proposed uranium mining in Meghalaya.
The BARC report, received by the state government recently, indicated that "at the estimated dose of 0.02 milli-sievert per year in public domain in the immediate vicinity attributable to the mining operation, no undesirable health impact is expected," state's Mining and Geology Minister Prestone Tyngsong told the assembly during question hour on June 27, 2006.
(PTI June 27, 2006)
District administration prohibits uranium debate "in order to maintain law and order"
The district administration has thrown spanner in the much-hyped debate between KHNAM (Ka Khun Hhynniewtrep National Awakening Movement, a political party backed by the Khasi Students' Union) president Paul Lyngdoh and KHADC (Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council) Chief Executive Member HS Shylla by prohibiting any such debate on uranium and related issues within its jurisdiction. The debate was to be held at Nongstoin on May 31, 2006, following a war of words between the KHADC chief and KHNAM supreme over the uranium mining.
According to West Khasi Hill Deputy Commissioner KL Tariang, the prevailing situation in West Khasi Hills is "not conducive" for such an event.
He said the permission for the proposed debate on the scheduled date was not given "in order to maintain law and order, besides ensuring peace and tranquillity in the entire district".
(The Shillong Times, 29 May 2006)
Meghalaya State government to form panel on uranium mining
"The Meghalaya government would form a committee with representatives from various sections of the society to decide on the vexed uranium mining issue," Chief Minister DD Lapang said May 25, 2006, reports PTI.
"The government will not go about in a haphazard manner (in deciding the uranium mining issue). A committee is to be formed to elicit views, sentiments, opinions and comments from all corners," he told reporters.
The committee would have representatives from Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC), people of the deposit area, government officials and NGOs, Lapang said after a Cabinet meeting.
The matter (of deciding on the issue) has not come to the Cabinet as yet, he said, adding that keeping at bay possible health hazards from uranium mining would be the government's first priority. But the aspect of development would not be lost sight of.
(Assam Tribune May 27, 2006)
Opponents vow to block road construction to planned uranium mine site
On May 3, 2006, the Khasi Students' Union (KSU) decided to physically prevent the proposed laying of foundation stone of the new road from Wahkaji to Mawthabah by the Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Dr Anil Kakodkar on May 9, 2006. KSU's hardened attitude comes close on the heels of receiving pleading notice from Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) Chief Executive Member Mr HS Shylla, asking them not to mislead public on the issue.
"We welcome development, but we oppose the proposed construction of the road from Wahkaji to Mawthabah as it is meant for mining of uranium and not in the interest of general public of that area", KSU leader Mr Syiemiong said.
(The Shillong Times May 4, 2006)
The road which was financed by Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) through the KHADC would be constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 100 million (US$ 2.2 million). Already, Rs 9.6 million (US$ 0.21 million) had been released by UCIL to KHADC for the road project. The 20 kilometre road would connect Wahkaji with seven villages including Mawthabah.
(The Shillong Times May 5, 2006)
The foundation stone laying of the road to Wahkaji has been shelved with the Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Dr Anil Kakodkar expressing his inability to attend the programme slated for May 9, 2006.
(The Shillong Times May 7, 2006)
The visit of KHADC delegation led by its Chief Executive Member Mr HS Shylla to the mining areas of Wahkaji on May 9, 2006, came to an abrupt end when the West Khasi Hills district administration prevented them from taking the trip fearing violence between those people who welcome the uranium project and others who are against it.
(The Shillong Times May 10, 2006)
District Council clears proposed uranium mining at Domiasiat
Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) Chief Executive Member Mr HS Shylla said that the KHADC submitted its recommendation to Meghalaya Chief Minister DD Lapang on April 11, 2006, in favour of the proposed uranium project at Domiasiat-Mawthabah in West Khasi Hills. "It is in the interest of the people and the State as whole", the KHADC report said.
The Council is of the opinion that there is no harm in Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) in taking up the project however "it is up to the State government to allow the same", Mr Shylla said.
A 14-member team led by Mr Shylla visited the UCIL project at Jaduguda and interacted with the employees of the Corporation and found that those working there are possessing sound health. "We have even entered the mine and found it safe for all working there", he said.
Mr Shylla came hard on the anti-mining NGOs like the KSU and MPHRC saying that these organisations were misleading the people by creating fear psychosis about the uranium mining.
"The NGOs which are involved in anti-uranium campaign are anti-development and anti-national and they should be put behind bars", he said.
(The Shillong Times April 13, 2006)
Medical team finds no health effects from former uranium exploration at Domiasiat
A medical team visited Phangdilion village on December 13, 2005, and organised a health camp on the same day. At least 376 people including 169 males and 207 females in the age group of 0 to 80 years had check ups in the health camp so as to enable the officials to have a conclusive report on the health hazards that uranium mining could have caused. NGOs recently claimed that the waste piles left from exploration for uranium a few years ago had been affecting the general health of the people.
The team said that contrary to the claim of NGOs, there was no apparent affect of radiation on the general health of the people residing around the mining areas. "There was only one case of radio oncology strongly suggesting an advance carcinoma of the throat case, besides a few skin problems like scabies and seborrhoea dermatitis. There was no endemic of any particular disease, but the people were suffering from common ailments", the report said adding that infection of upper and lower respiratory tract and acid peptic diseases were prevalent, while essential hypertension, diabetes mellitus and chronic amoebasis were not detected.
The team had visited Phlangdiloin and checked patients from Pyndemsynia, Ryngkhiat, Nongmawmluh, Mawt-hemlang and Rangblang, all adjacent to the uranium mining areas. The report, however, said that the medical team could not cover Domiasiat village on the same day as the area was not easily accessible.
(The Shillong Times 21 Dec 2005)
District Council forms committee to study proposed uranium mining in Domiasiat
The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) has constituted a special committee to study the proposed uranium mining in Domiasiat, West Khasi Hills. According to Mr Hispreachering Son Shylla, Chief Executive Member, the committee would take views of the people residing within the vicinity of the mining areas.
The Committee will also seek the opinions of experts regarding the merits and demerits of uranium mining, Mr Shylla said adding that the committee would look into the national as well as International interest concerning uranium mining. The committee would submit its report within six months, he said.
(The Shillong Times 28 Sep 2005)
State government in favor of uranium mining at Domiasiat
Meghalaya Governor, Mr M M Jacob has said that the state government and the district council were in favour of uranium mining.
(The Shillong Times, Aug. 25, 2005)
Tribal council leader opposes uranium mining at Domiasiat
Tribal council leader Mr John F Kharshiing has condemned the stand of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC), which is in favour of mining uranium even as he urged the people to stand united against the possibilities of uranium mining. In a statement issued in Shillong, the Chairman of Ka Dorbar Ki Nongsynshar ka Ri Hynniewtrep (Assembly of Hynniewtrep Traditional Rulers) said that the UCIL sponsored visit of members of the district council and traditional heads to Jaduguda is a farce.
According to Mr Kharshiing, the team members should have sought the opinion of an unbiased expert and not from employees of UCIL. He also urged the land-owners, villages and people to make a judicious decision as neither the UCIL nor the State Government has clarifed about the relocation and compensation of the affected families once the green signal is given.
(The Shillong Times, July 20, 2005)
District Council in favour of Domiasiat mining project after visit to Jaduguda
UCIL's Domiasiat proposal received a boost when the high-level team, which visited Jaduguda in Jharkhand to gather first hand knowledge on uranium mining, virtually gave its seal of approval allaying fear of ill effects. The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) Chief Executive Member Prestone Tynsong said the team did not witness ill effect of mining on human life, vegetations, animals there.
(The Shillong Times, July 14, 2005)
Activists seal off Domiasiat uranium mine project site
On April 12, 2005, the organizations fighting against setting up of the project erected a gate at Domiasiat in West Khasi Hills in order to check unauthorized entry into the area. The organizations - KSU, MPHRC, Dorbar Shnong of Domiasiat along with land owner Spillity Lyngdoh Langrin - who set up the gate warned people against passing through the gate to the area, identified for the proposed uranium mining project, without seeking prior permission from the land owner concerned.
Land owner Spillity Lyngdoh Langrin said that the gate was constructed as "a symbol of the people's vehement protest" against the proposed uranium mining project at Domiasiat, which she had been voicing against since 1990. Spillity Lyngdoh also said that no UCIL representative or official would be allowed to enter the area and go to the proposed project site without availing prior permission from her. The Dorbar Shnong (village council) of Domiasiat has decided to extend its full support to the land owner to erect the gate keeping in mind the serious concerns regarding health hazards voiced by certain quarters in view of the proposed uranium mining project in the area.
(The Shillong Times April 14, 2005)
Newly formed anti-uranium committee announces rally against Domiasiat uranium project
The newly-formed Co-Ordination Committee Against Uranium Mining (CCAUM) comprising 11 organizations including the Khasi Students' Union (KSU), Meghalaya People's Human Rights Council (MPHRC), Western Youth Welfare Organisation (WYWO), NADO, NAIDO, and Lai Lyngdoh Welfare Organization (LYWO) has decided to launch a movement in the entire Khasi and Jaintia Hills to prevent uranium mining at Domiasiat in West Khasi Hills.
The CCAUM, which was formed at a meeting held at Nongstoin on March 21, 2005, decided that the movement would be launched on April 6, 2005, by holding a public rally at Nongstoin to highlight negative impact of uranium mining on people living near the proposed uranium mining project. KSU president Samuel B Jyrwa said that the CCAUM had been formed in view of the State government's move to issue No Objection Certificate (NOC) to the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) to carry out uranium mining at Domiasiat.
Meanwhile, the CCAUM has condemned the statement of Chief Minister DD Lapang made in the State Assembly recently that the government would grant permission to UCIL to carry out the project at Domiasiat. CCAUM chairman and president of the KSU West Khasi Hills Circle Stanley Kharbani said that majority of the people of the district, especially those of Domiasiat, were strongly against the proposed uranium mining project and have thus decided to extend full support to the movement. "The CCAUM was supported by many political leaders of West Khasi Hills including the HSPDP President and MLA from Nongstoin Hoping Stone Lyngdoh," Mr Kharbani claimed.
(The Shillong Times, 23 March 2005)
Domiasiat project renamed to Kylleng-Pyndemsohiong-Mawthabah uranium mining project
The Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) has decided to change the name of the proposed uranium mining project in West Khasi Hills to Kylleng-Pyndemsohiong-Mawthabah Uranium Mining Project, instead of Domiasiat Uranium Mining Project. Official sources said that the name of the project had been changed after proper verification by the Atomic Minerals Division (AMD) and State Government revealed that there was no uranium deposit at the site of the present Domiasiat uranium mining project.
(Shillong Times Mar. 14, 2005)
District Council to seek White Paper on Domiasiat project
The Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) has decided to seek a White Paper from Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) on the advantages and disadvantages of uranium mining at Domiasiat in West Khasi Hills district. The decision to this effect was taken at a meeting held in Shillong on March 7, 2005, between the KHADC officials and traditional heads of Nongstoin and Langrin.
(The Shillong Times, March 8, 2005)
Dec. 14/15, 2004, general strike against uranium mining at Domiasiat
On Dec. 14, 2004 at 7 p.m., a further general strike began against the uranium mining project at Domiasiat, among others. The strike was called by the Khasi Students' Union (KSU).
(Shillong Times Dec. 15, 2004)
Rally in favour of uranium mining at Domiasiat
On Nov. 9, 2004, the Langrin War-San Lyngdoh Development Organisation (LWLDO) held a big rally at Wahkaji village near Domiasiat attended by people of several villages. The rally decided to welcome the proposed uranium project while also urging the State Government to grant permission to the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) to start the mining process. The organisation which comprised of Rangbah Shnongs and Sirdars (headmen) of these villages was in favour of allowing uranium mining in Domiasiat.
(Shillong Times Nov. 10, 2004)
UCIL official quits after threat from militants
UCIL's mining adviser CF Lyngdoh resigned following threat from suspected militants. "Two armed militants came to my house on September 15 last and asked me to resign by October 1 and I had to resign", Mr Lyngdoh told The Shillong Times. "One of them spoke in Khasi saying that for the good of the society, I should resign", Mr Lyngdoh said.
(Shillong Times Oct. 18, 2004)
Students' organizations support Oct. 5, 2004, general strike against uranium mining at Domiasiat
The Khasi Students' Union (KSU) supports the October 5, 2004 general strike, sponsored by the North East Students Organisation (NESO). The strike will focus on KSU's protest against uranium mining at Domiasiat.
(Shillong Times Sep. 29, 2004)
UCIL obtains land owners consent for uranium project in Domiasiat
Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL) has claimed that land owners in Meghalaya’s Domiasiat area have given their consent in principle for mining of the radioactive mineral, reports PTI.
UCIL chairman and managing director R Gupta said the consent of the land owners was a "step forward" for setting up UCIL project in Meghalaya’s West Khasi Hills district. He also expressed happiness that the local people were 'cooperating' with the UCIL. Land in tribal-dominated Meghalaya belongs to the people and for setting up of any project their consent was regarded crucial.
(Assam Tribune June 10, 2004)
Meghalaya NGOs opposed to uranium mining at Domiasiat
Three prominent non-governmental organizations (NGOs) of Meghalaya have expressed strong opposition to the proposed mining of uranium at Domiasiat in the West Khasi Hills District of the State due to the apprehension of radiation-related health hazards.
Representatives of the Khasi Students' Union (KSU), Hynniewtrep Environment Status Preservation Organisation (HESPO) and the Meghalaya People's Human Rights Council (MPHRC), who had recently visited uranium mines at Jadugoda in Bihar, have alleged that mining of the yellow mineral has resulted in widespread health hazards in the vicinity of the mines.
The NGO representatives were part of a fact-finding team including Meghalaya Mining and Geology minister Deborah Marak, Labour minister Sayedullah Nongrum, besides other government officials, which was sent to Jadugoda by the state government.
(Assam Tribune Mar. 20, 2004)
On April 26, 2004, the three NGOs organised a protest march through the streets of Shillong on the occasion of 'World Anti-Uranium Day'. At this occasion, the Meghalaya Government has reiterated its stand that a decision on uranium mining at Domiasiat in the West Khasi Hills would be taken only after examining all aspects including health and safety. (Assam Tribune Apr. 27, 2004)
Meghalaya Government calls for studies on Domiasiat project
The Meghalaya Government has decided to urge the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) to study the ecology of Domiasiat and submit a detailed report on the feasibility of carrying out uranium mining in the Domiasiat area of West Khasi Hills in Meghalaya. A separate team, comprising representatives of various NGOs would also be sent to Domiasiat by the State Department of Mining and Geology, Chief Minister D.D. Lapang said, adding the government would also take the feed-back provided by the NGOs into consideration before taking any decision on uranium mining.
(Assam Tribune Jan. 19, 2004)
UCIL to start mining at Domiasiat
The Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) has decided to start uranium mining at Domiasiat in Meghalaya and all precautionary measures has been taken. This was stated by the Minister for Mines Ramesh Bais in the Indian Parliament on Dec. 10, 2003. "Various pre-project activities like preparation of Environment Impact Assessment (EIA)/Environment Management Plan (EMP) report, Detailed Project Report (DPR) have been initiated," Mr Bais said. An application for mining lease has also been submitted to the State Government, he added.
(Shillong Times Dec. 11, 2003)
> View RAJYA SABHA, Session 200, Unstarred Question No. 852
UCIL assures: uranium mining at Domiasiat not to start without local consent
Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL) Chairman-cum-Managing Director (CMD) Ramendra Gupta has said that the proposed mining of uranium ore from Domiasiat in Meghalaya's West Khasi Hills district would not be started until the people of the area extend wholehearted cooperation to the project. "We will start the project only after we convince the people that the project is in their interest," Gupta said. "The project will only be started with public approval," he reiterated.
(Assam Tribune Aug. 26, 2003)
State Government to install committee on Domiasiat project
A high-level committee headed by Chief Minister D D Lapang will be constituted to examine all issues related to the proposed uranium mining project at Domiasiat. Informing this, Commissioner and Secretary of Mining and Geology department, S S Gupta said his department would soon submit a proposal to the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) for setting up of the proposed high-level committee which would comprise some ministers and senior government officials. The committee would examine all issues related to the project including health issues and would make recommendations to the Cabinet for its approval.
Further, in case of any decision by the Government to grant mining lease to the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL), the committee would recommend the terms and conditions related to such lease.
Meanwhile, the UCIL chairman and managing director, R Gupta during his recent meeting with the state government clarified that the UCIL was ready to pay compensation to those land owners whose lands would be acquired for the project. Only a few families were required to be displaced and they would be provided jobs besides accommodation in UCIL quarters. The project would create 500 direct employment avenues and indirect employment was likely to exceed 5000.
Moreover, Mr Gupta informed the State Government that there was absolutely no health hazard posed by the proposed mining of uranium to the local villagers while he also asserted that not a single case of diseases from uranium mining had occurred at Jaduguda.
250 tonnes of uranium (U3O8) would be produced per year through open cast mining at Domiasiat.
(Shillong Times July 24, 2003)
More opposition to Domiasiat uranium mine project
The Meghalaya Peoples’ Human Rights Council (MPHRC) and the Hill State Peoples’ Democratic Party (HSPDP) have strongly opposed any move to carry out uranium mining at Domiasiat in the West Khasi Hills district on the ground that radiation from the mineral would pose health hazards, besides affecting the environment.
(Assam Tribune June 8, 2003)
Open-cast uranium mining in Meghalaya likely
"The Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL) will adopt the open-cast method of mining uranium at Domiasiat in the West Khasi Hills to ensure safety to the people and the environment."
(Assam Tribune June 4, 2003)
Key ally of ruling party opposes uranium exploration moves
On May, 20, 2003, Hill State People Democratic Party (HSPDP), a constituent of the ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance coalition, opposed the Government’s decision to begin extraction [means exploration] of uranium in the State saying it would cause sickness among the people, reports PTI. Uranium extraction would also cause radiation effects among the cattle, HSDP president HS Lyngdoh told PTI here. (Assam Tribune May 22, 2003)
After over a decade, investigation and drilling of uranium deposits by the Uranium Corporation of India (UCI) have resumed in Meghalaya, reports PTI. The UCI has conducted geo-physical survey in Domiasiat area of West Khasi hills and was now negotiating with the individuals. The State government was not involved in the process, Chief Secretary J Tayeng told reporters.
Process of excavation [means exploration] of the precious mineral had begun in Meghalaya in 1992 as Rs 450 crore [Rs 4.5 billion = US$ 96 million] were earmarked for the pilot project but it was reportedly abandoned due to protests from local people and village heads. (Assam Tribune May 23, 2003)
Tribal opposition blocks Domiasiat uranium project in northeast India
Opposition from the local Khasi tribe so far has prevented Uranium Corp of India Ltd (UCIL) from developing a commercial uranium mine at Domiasiat in the north-eastern province of Meghalaya.
The Khasi district council says it owns the land and the state government - or the federal authorities - cannot acquire it.
The district council has granted permission for UCIL to "conduct exploratory surveys" but not to undertake commercial mining.
One senior UCIL official said: "Every time we turn up at the uranium mines, the tribes people chase us with bows and arrows and swords."
"They call us the agents of death and threaten to kill us if we try to mine uranium."
(BBC News May 5, 2003)
Tribals oppose Domiasiat uranium project in northeast India
Uranium Corp of India Ltd (UCIL) has received permission to begin uranium mining in Domiasiat village in the province of Meghalaya. Paul Lyngdoh, leader of the tribal Khasi Student Union (KSU), said the students had appealed to the village headman to withdraw the order immediately. (Reuters, Nov. 27, 2000)
Domiasiat project functional in 4 - 5 years
The Uranium Corporation of India Ltd. (UCIL) plans to have the Domiasiat uranium mine operational in 4 - 5 years. While UCIL initially planned open-pit mining, it now prefers the in-situ leaching technique for the exploitation of the deposit. (The Hindu, July 20, 1999)
30,000 to be displaced for Domiasiat uranium mine ?
The Uranium Corporation of India Ltd. (UCIL) has
proposed to acquire 10 square kilometers of land in the uranium
deposit areas of Domiasiat in Hima Langrin
of the West Khasi Hills (in the northeast of India). About
30,000 people are likely to be displaced and the UCIL is
promising to provide 85 percent of the jobs to residents in the
area. Some time before 1991, the Atomic Mineral Division of the
Department of Atomic Energy discovered uranium in the West Khasi
Hills. In the name of prospecting and taking samples, they
already took out vast quantities of ore running into hundreds of
tons. Now the Uranium Corporation of India has decided to
"properly" acquire the land and do what may be
considered "legalized destruction". It is said that
the deposit is the "largest, richest, near-surface and low-
cost sandstone-type uranium deposit discovered in India so
far". The ores are spread over a 10-square-kilometer area
in deposits varying from eight to 47 meters from the surface.
As part of their efforts to stop this assault on their
territory, people have also sent a letter to the Prime Minister.
The Department of Atomic Energy has been asked to explain, and
in its letter of reply, had the cheek to say that mining will
only help in removing the uranium which is the source of the
radiation in this area!
Source and Contact: Anumukti (India), Vol.9, No.4, Feb/March
1996, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
[Reprinted from WISE News Communique No.459, 4 Oct 1996]