Ranikor MLA, Pius Marwein today said that he will consult with experts to find out the facts whether uranium tanks in Nongbah-Jynrin village are leaking or not.
Around two weeks ago the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) had claimed that concrete covers put there by the Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL) at an exploratory drilling site had cracked, but these reports were brushed aside by the government.
However, recently, environmental economist Bremley W B Lyngdoh took radiation level readings at the site and found levels to be three times above the danger mark.
“The uranium tanks in this village are several years old and I am yet to conduct a spot inspection of the tanks at present, so I cannot draw any conclusions right now,” Marwein told this reporter.
“We have opposed uranium mining from before together with the rest of the people of our State and we stand opposed to any uranium mining activities. But I think we still need expert verification if it’s true that there is the emission of high-level radiation in the area which is affecting the people,” he added.
Although Marwein said that he has not received recent complaints from locals on the issue, he said that, earlier, villagers had told him that miscreants occasionally tried to destroy the uranium tanks.
Nongbah-Jynrin has a population of less than 100 and suffers from little to no mobile phone coverage and bad roads, the representative said. If the emission of high-level radiation in the area is proven, then the government cannot remain a mere spectator, he added.
Lyngdoh, who visited the area on October 9, said that he carried out a test using a Geiger counter, which detected around 145 counts per minute (CPM) of radiation in the area where the tanks are located.
He stated that the radiation level in the river nearby is as high as 360 CPM.
Lyngdoh has called for deep, unbiased, non-political, independent research, including proper health and social impact assessments.