Meghalaya takes it easy on Domiasiat

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Shilong
  • Published 21.10.04
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Shillong, Oct. 21: The Meghalaya government has said it would wait for police to complete their investigation into the alleged threat to the adviser to the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) before taking any decision on the proposed mining at Domiasiat in the West Khasi Hills.

Mining adviser to UCIL C.F. Lyngdoh had resigned from his post following threats from ?armed unidentified militants? recently. Lyngdoh sent his resignation to the UCIL headquarters in Jadugoda after two militants met the official and told him that he would have to resign from his post ?in the interest of the state?.

No militant group has claimed responsibility for the threats issued to the UCIL adviser.

The Domiasiat uranium mining proposal has been embroiled in controversy since its inception in the early nineties. A number of organisations and political leaders have opposed the proposal on ecological grounds.

Chief minister D.D. Lapang, who said his government would look into the matter, made it clear that the government would not interfere immediately but wait for the police to complete their investigation.

Lapang reaffirmed the government?s commitment to take the public and the residents of Domiasiat into confidence before accepting the UCIL?s proposal to start the Rs 400-crore project.

Meghalaya chief secretary P.J. Bazely said the government would ensure that investigation unravelled the truth.

Bazely said the proposal of the UCIL to begin uranium mining is under consideration by the government. The Centre is said to have asked the state government to take a decision on the proposal at the earliest.

Senior police officials said vital clues have been found, which could help trace the militants who had threatened Lyngdoh.

Lyngdoh had received similar threats from a lesser-known outfit, the Retrieval of Indigenous Unified Front.

The police rounded up members of the group on August 13.

Veteran political leader Hopingstone Lyngdoh, of the Hill State People?s Democratic Party, has long been campaigning against uranium mining at Domiasiat.

Organisations such as the Meghalaya People?s Human Rights Council and the Khasi Students? Union are bent on stalling the mining project. Most of these organisations argue that uranium mining is fraught with health hazards and could even endanger the fragile ecosystem in and around Domiasiat, close to the Indo-Bangladesh border.

Another issue raised by pressure groups is that uranium mining in the area will render thousands of people homeless. These organisations have asked the UCIL to shelve its proposal, but the company remains adamant.