Novel protest planned in Meghalaya

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By OUR CORRESPONDENT in Shilong
  • Published 8.08.03
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Shillong, Aug. 8: In a rare gesture, several organisations in Meghalaya have decided to pay homage to the victims of Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombing by demanding a “total stop” to uranium mining in Domiasiat, a sleepy hamlet in West Khasi Hills district.

“We want the government to declare the area as a nuclear free zone,” said P.B.M. Basaiawmoit, president of the Heritage, Environment and Status Protection Organisation (Hespo) which has been spearheading the protest against uranium mining in Domiasiat.

Hespo’s demand has found wide support with various organisations who will tomorrow request the Centre to stop the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) from extracting uranium ore in Domiasiat.

Among those opposed to uranium exploration in the state is the Hill State Peoples Democratic Party, a constituent of the ruling Meghalaya Democratic Alliance. Its leader Hopingstone Lyngdoh is vehemently opposed to uranium mining in the state as it is poses health hazards.

Basaiawmoit said the Hespo would urge the state government, the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council, heads of traditional institutions like the syiems, the dorbar of Hima Langrin (Domiasiat is under Langrin constituency), village authorities and landowners to understand the fallout of uranium mining and withdraw the permission granted to the UCIL for exploratory mining. The Hespo has also opposed mining in other places in the state.