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Cracks in pro-mining groups

Shillong, Sept. 6: The mushrooming of pro-mining groups and their frequent change of names have become the order of the day in Meghalaya where the government is inching closer to uranium mining in the state.

On September 3, Wondor Myrthong who was ousted from the West Khasi Hills Confederation of Associations for Development through Uranium Mining, an umbrella organisation of around 19 pro-mining NGOs, formed his own organisation called the Associations of Meghalaya for Development and Advancement (Amda).

The umbrella organisation was formed on August 25, a day after the Congress-led MUA cabinet allowed the Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL) to begin the pre-project development programmes in the uranium areas.

It elected Myrthong the chairman of the body. Leadership tussle among the members of the umbrella organisation compelled the NGOs to drop Myrthong from the post of chairman and make him vice-chairman.

According to Myrthong, Amda is a conglomeration of several pro-uranium activists from West Khasi Hills.

It is another faction of pro-uranium activists who were previously part of the umbrella organisation.

While Marthong was elected its chairman, six vice-chairmen, four joint secretaries and other functionaries were also elected.

On August 31 at a meeting in Nongstoin, the headquarters of West Khasi Hills, several NGOs under the leadership of M. Marngar formed the West Khasi Hills Confederation of Associations for Development.

Margnar today said with the support of more than 50 social organisations from West Khasi Hills they had decided to change the name of the West Khasi Hills Confederation of Associations for Development Through Uranium Mining to West Khasi Hills Confederation of Associations for Development.

“By West Khasi Hills Confederation of Associations for Development we are looking at the development of the district through various schemes and not only through mining,” Margnar said.

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