Khasi Hills ADC approves independent inquiry into seepage of uranium

The UDA-led Executive Committee (EC) in the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) has assured to examine the demand for instituting an independent inquiry into the alleged leakage of the uranium tanks in South West Khasi Hills.

Replying to a zero hour notice moved by Congress MDC Fantin Lakadong on Wednesday, KHADC Chief Executive Member (CEM), Titosstarwell Chyne said, “The EC will examine and if need be to arrange for an independent inquiry by experts, we will do the needful.”

Before taking the decision, Chyne said that a committee comprising members from different political parties will be set up to conduct on the spot inspection to the sites where the uranium tanks are located in Nongbah Jynrin.

Chyne however said that since the government has taken necessary steps to appoint an expert agency to probe into the matter, the EC felt that there is need to wait for the inquiry report. “Therefore, we have decided to write to the state government on the need to speed up the inquiry and to also share the inquiry report with the District Council,” he said.

The CEM further assured the House that the present EC under his leadership is also firm on its stand that no objection certificate (NOC) will be issued for mining of uranium under the council’s jurisdiction.

“This House had already passed a resolution on February 20, 2017 that henceforth all issues related to uranium mining activities within the jurisdiction of the council, the EC cannot unilaterally decide or take any action without the knowledge and consent of the House. Therefore, we will abide by this resolution,” he said.

Earlier, members taking part in the discussion urged the EC to send its own expert team to probe into the alleged leakage of the uranium tanks and if possible, to order sealing of the same.

“I strongly suggest the EC to once and for all close the chapter of uranium and to send its own expert team to investigate into the allegation of radiation leak from these concrete tanks,” former KHADC CEM, P. N. Syiem asserted.

Supporting his view, Congress MDC from Rambrai-Jyrngam, Bajop Pyngrope said there is a need for independent inquiry to find out the truth.

Shella MDC and former CEM, Teinwell Dkhar said there is a need to immediately seal these tanks to prevent such leakages.

While stating that uranium is the most toxic mineral and highly poisonous, nominated member of the House, Bindo M. Lanong said this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is nothing compared to the danger of uranium – if mining is allowed.

Agreeing with Nongkrem MDC Lambor Malngiang on the requirement for a spot inspection to the site, Lanong said although no NOC was issued by either the state government or the KHADC for uranium mining but the council did not stop UCIL from carrying out the survey for identification of sites.

NNN

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