Former Deputy Chief Minister and present member of Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC), Bindo M. Lanong has said that there was no uranium mining anywhere in Meghalaya so far.
“Prospecting of uranium in West Khasi Hills has been misconstrued as mining. After our recent visit to uranium areas in remote areas of West Khasi Hills, it is confirmed, that so far there has been no mining of uranium anywhere in the State, verified also from the Department of Mining and Geology, Meghalaya,” Lanong said in a statement issued today.
He also said that a special team from the KHADC comprising him, Jigur Myrthong, Lamphrang Blah and Carnes Sohshang recently undertook a visit to Nongbah Jyngrin, Domiasiat areas from Wahkaji to verify the claim of some sources about leakage of uranium activity and the effect posed to human life and that there have been also a few cases of birth of abnormal babies and such other related effects.
“However, local elders rebuffed to such claims. What we found and narrated by the local elders was that reconnaissance of the areas was done years ago, followed by prospecting, which rural people misunderstood as mining,” Lanong said.
He further said that during the visit, the KHADC team found a few abandon sites, where such prospecting activities have been conducted and the debris, free from any radiation, buried under the cemented platforms raised over ground, “which would have been advisable to bury the same inside the pits, to allay any fear and apprehension among lay village folks.”
“We proceeded next day to the other site, that is Nongjri via Nonghyllam, across Ranikor bridge, where not only prospecting but drilling by one Maheshwari Company was carried out for quite some time, which however was stopped by the department in 2012 when I was in the government, holding Mining and Geology, after local people complained about the large scale activities being conducted then,” Lanong said.
“In Nongjri also we met local people and elders and the abandoned sites, which was buried underground, unlike the Mawthabah Jynrin site,” he added.
According to Lanong, mining of a radio-active ore like uranium, requires a highly scientific and technical approach, which can be handled only by the Central government through the Department of Atomic Minerals, under the MMDR Act 1957 and the Atomic Energy Act 1962.
Lanong also recalled his visit to Jadugada uranium mining site in 1999 where he had “a rare opportunity to hold yellow cake with bare hands” with then KHADC CEM late David Lyngwi and former Nongpoh MDC Rangkynsai Makdoh.