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Meghalaya: Kakodkar to talk to anti-mining groups

August 20, 2008 13:34 IST

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Meghalaya Coverage

Desperate to make headway in the uranium mining project in Meghalaya that has hung fire since the last one and half decades, Atomic Energy Department Chairman Anil Kakodkar will arrive in Shillong on Thursday to hold parleys with the anti-mining groups.

Official sources said Kakodkar will meet Chief Minister Donkupar Roy and other government officials, besides conveying the Centre's views to the anti-mining groups, including political parties in the ruling coalition like the Hill State People's Democratic Party and Khun Hynnieutrip National Awakening Movement.

Both of them have been opposing the project citing health hazards from radiation.

Kakodkar will be accompanied by top officials of the AED.

The visit of the AED chairman assumes significance in view of the current demand for uranium in the country and the Centre's recent decision to go ahead with the Indo-US nuclear deal.

The Centre is learnt to be eager to start mining at Mawthabah in West Khasi Hills district at the earliest.

Earlier, an all-party committee on the project formed two separate groups of experts in a bid to allay the fears of health hazards arising out of the mining.

The state government would take a decision once the expert groups submit their report even as the Centre had given environmental clearence for it in December 2007.

Meghalaya has around 3,75,000 tonnes of uranium ore as per surveys done by the AED and can fulfil 16 per cent of the country's current demand.

The mining project, estimated at around Rs 1000 crore, has hung fire in the wake of opposition from various quarters, including NGOs and political parties.

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