The Meghalaya government’s move for an inquiry into the alleged leakage of radiation in uranium-rich South West Khasi Hills district bordering Bangladesh has been rejected by the Khasi Students Union (KSU).
The inquiry into the alleged leakage was proposed to be carried out by IIT Guwahati and North Eastern Hill University (NEHU)- both of which are centrally funded universities.
While rejecting the move, the KSU said that both the institutes appeared to them as “dependent agencies” and not “independent agencies “.
“How can we expect an independent investigation from government-aided universities?” questioned KSU South West Khasi Hills District president Forwardman Nongrem.
“This decision is unwise and unacceptable to the union and people of the state,” Nongrem added.
It may be mentioned here that the Meghalaya government had decided to appoint an expert agency to go deep into the alleged leakage of radiation from a concrete tank, ‘containing radioactive remnants’ of an exploratory uranium mining at Nongbah Jynrin village.
“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,” Nongrem further added.
“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 favouring the government in its efforts of mining uranium there at Mawthabah and Domiasiat area,” he added.
Nongrem further said that the KSU is in favour of a fair and independent inquiry, which need to be carried out by a non-biased agency.
It is worth mentioning here that London-based environmental economist Bremley Wanbantei B Lyngdoh, who had visited Nongbah Jynrin recently, 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 Shillong.