KSU rejects move to entrust IIT Guwahati, NEHU to inquire into alleged uranium leakage

Uranium radiation claim: Govt to look for options if reports of Nehu, IIT contradicts

Shillong, Oct 23: The Khasi Students Union (KSU) has rejected the government’s move to have an inquiry into the alleged leakage of ‘radiation” in uranium-rich South West Khasi Hills district bordering Bangladesh by IIT Guwahati and North Eastern Hill University (NEHU).

According to the union both the institutions are centrally funded universities and thus, they appear as “Dependent Agencies” and not “Independent Agencies “.

It may be mentioned that the Meghalaya government has decided to appoint an expert agency to go deep into the alleged leakage of ‘radiation’ from a concrete tank allegedly containing radioactive remnants of an exploratory uranium mining at Nongbah Jynrin village in the State’s South West Khasi Hills district bordering Bangladesh.

KSU South West Khasi Hills District, Forwardman Nongrem, said, “How can we expect an independent investigation from government aided universities and so, this decision is unwise and unacceptable to the Union and people of the State.”

Maintaining that the KSU is sticking to the principle of an Independent Agency to carry out in depth study on the leakages of concrete tanks at Nongbah Jynrin, Nongrem said the proposal to let these varsities to carry out with their studies are pre-planned, manipulative in nature and we don’t expect a fair report from their investigations.

“Thirdly, since 2002 the related departments of NEHU, Shillong have been receiving funds from the Department of Atomic Energy, Board of Research in Nuclear Sciences, Mumbai and Babha Atomic Research Center for researches which are manipulative in nature and which were done with a view to favour the government in its efforts of mining uranium there at Mawthabah and Domiasiat area….,” he maintained.

“We need a fair and Independent Agency not a biased and dependent agency to carry out in depth study as we are sure that leakages are there and the level of radiation emission is also very high as confirmed with our inspection to the site on the 9th of October along with Dr. Bremley Wanbantei Lyngdoh,” the KSU leader asserted.

Recently, an environmental economist from London School of Economics, Bremley Wanbantei B Lyngdoh, who had visited Nongbah Jynrin claimed that there is a leakage of radiation. “The radiation ‘counts per minute’ (cpm) in the area was 315, which is very high and detrimental for any form of life,” he said.

Nongbah Jynrin is about 55 km from Mawkyrwat and 135 km from State capital Shillong.

On August 29, 2017, the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) had temporarily closed down its establishments in Meghalaya since the government-owned mining company did not receive mining lease and statutory permission from the state government.

Prior to the UCIL temporarily closing down its office, the Atomic Mineral Directorate stopped its exploratory drilling in uranium-rich South West Khasi Hills district after its officials were attacked and machines used for taking sub surface samples were also set on fire.

UCIL had proposed to set up an open-cast uranium mining and processing plant at Mawthabah.

Meghalaya has an estimated 9.22 million tonnes of uranium ore deposits.