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Uranium fear in fish death

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  • Published 16.04.12

Shillong, April 15: Scientists from the Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board will test the waters of Kynshi and Rilang rivers in West Khasi Hills to ascertain its quality following the death of thousands of fishes since Friday.

The Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) attributed the unprecedented incident to the exploratory drilling of uranium ore undertaken by a private firm at Porkut near Nongri in West Khasi Hills.

Reports coming in from Ranikor, where the rivers congregate, said more dead fishes had surfaced today.

“A team of scientists will be assigned to test the water quality of the two rivers following the reported death of fishes,” a senior board official said.

The team will be sent after Tuesday as tomorrow has been declared a holiday. The official also said the board would not be able to ascertain whether the fishes died because of radiation emanating from uranium ore exploration, as it did not have the requisite facilities.

“The board only has facilities to conduct water and air pollution. Only an independent body from outside will have the equipment to test the radiation level in the two rivers,” the official said. Till now, the board has not conducted any tests water in the two rivers, he added.

Yesterday, deputy chief minister Bindo M. Lanong, who is also in-charge of the mining and geology departments, had said a probe would be ordered to look into the death of the fishes.

Villagers have been having a field day since the death of the fishes. Even without knowing the reason behind the incident, the villagers have been taking the dead fishes and frying them.

Some have even gone to the extent of taking the dead fishes to the nearby markets and putting them on sale.