As the autumn session of the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) enters the second day, the UDA-led executive committee 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 district.
Replying to a zero-hour notice moved by Congress MDC Fantin Lakadong on Wednesday, KHADC chief, 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 a final call on this regard, Chyne said that a committee comprising of members from different political parties will be set up for conducting an on the spot inspection to the sites where the uranium tanks are located in Nongbah Jynrin.
Chyne however said after seeing the state government has taken the necessary step to appoint an expert agency to probe into the matter, the EC felt that there is a 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 KHADC chief further assured the House that the present EC under his leadership is also firm on its stand that a no-objection certificate (NOC) will be issued for the 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 executive committee 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 this concrete tanks,” former KHADC CEM, PN Syiem asserted.
Supporting his view, Congress MDC from Rambrai-Jyrngam, Bajop Pyngrope said there is a need for an independent inquiry to find out the truth adding it is a shame if elected members of the House do not take immediate steps to address this concern.
Shella MDC and former CEM, Teinwell Dkhar said there is a need to immediately seal these tanks to prevent such leakages.
Stating that uranium is the most toxic mineral, which is highly poisonous, senior member, Bindo M Lanong said this ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is nothing compared to the danger of uranium if mining is allowed.
Agreeing with Nongkrem member, Lambor Malngiang on the need for a spot inspection of the site, Lanong said although no NOC was issued by either the state government or the KHADC for uranium mining, but the KHADC did not stop the UCIL from carrying out the survey for identification of sites.
“I also received information from the people in that area that one company – Maheshwari Limited, which is an agency of the UCIL had conducted the survey but we were also informed that it went beyond the survey as they had also extracted uranium ore,” he said.
Malngiang expressed concern over Environment Impact Assessment, 2020 of the central government, and said, “If this is introduced, we can no longer have any public hearing and this will affect us especially if we talked about uranium. Therefore I urge the EC to take up this matter very seriously.”