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Push to uranium mining

- Mooshahary says Meghalaya worst in coal extraction

Shillong, Sept. 27: Meghalaya was today certified as the worst state in the country in relation to coal mining, by governor Ranjit Shekhar Mooshahary.

“Coal mining in the state is the worst kind of mining seen anywhere in the country. The rat-hole mining practised here has no security for the workers and if they die there is no one to care. The society is also not benefiting from this type of mining,” Mooshahary said.

He was addressing a national seminar on “Mining: impact assessment on the economy, ecology, technology, polity and society” organised by Sankardev College and B.B.S. College.

However, while lambasting the unscientific mining of coal, the governor advocated uranium mining.

“Uranium mining will not be in the form of rat-hole mining as is practised in the state. After 30 years when the uranium is exhausted, land will be refilled and the areas can be used for cultivation,” he said.

He also said uranium mining would benefit Meghalaya where up-to-date technology will be deployed with strict adherence to safety norms and ensuring that people will not be displaced from the mining areas.

“Uranium is important and it is essential for electricity. It will help produce perennial electricity and uranium can perpetually create power,” he said.

Turning his attention to anti-uranium mining groups, Mooshahary said, “I am not criticising those who oppose uranium mining, but what I want is a debate on the issue in a rational way.”

Several groups, including influential pressure groups, have been opposing the idea of uranium mining in the state. The mineral is abundantly present in the West Khasi Hills region of Meghalaya.

Mooshahary, while terming mining as a “controversial subject”, said, in mining, there are usually two groups — “green brigade” and “greed brigade”.

“Those who oppose mining belongs to the green brigade whereas greed brigade consists of those who favour mining and who would do everything in the name of money. We need to create a synthesis of the thesis and the anti-thesis,” he said.

Mooshahary also asked about the fate of the mining policy, which is anticipated to streamline and regulate mining activities.

“The state needs a mining policy. Without it, there would be grave environmental problems,” he added.

At the same time, Mooshahary said the latest technology should be deployed in the mining sector to reduce the adverse impact on human lives and the environment.

“Are we going to indulge in mining, which displaces people and destroys the environment? If people cannot inhale pure air and drink pure water, then mining is of no use,” he said.

The unscientific coal mining has been a subject of debate in Meghalaya, which has an adverse impact on the ecology and human lives.