The Meghalaya government has decided to have an expert panel that would go deep into alleged leakages of tanks storing uranium ores at Nongbah Jynrin in South West Khasi Hills district as well as the high level of radiation in the area.
Informing after the review meeting on Friday, government spokesperson and deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong told reporters that during the review meeting, the government discussed the issue and decided to immediately appoint an expert panel to go deep into alleged leakages of tanks there.
Tynsong said the chief secretary would complete the modalities including the term of reference when the panel is notified.
“We are first identifying experts to be in the panel, and then notify it along with the term of reference,” Tynsong said.
The state government’s move to have an expert panel to look into the issue came after a team of the Khasi Students Union (KSU) along with an environmentalist, Bremley Wanbantei Lyngdoh, had visited the tanks at Nongbah Jynrin and found that cracks in those tanks had been cemented.
Bremley took along with him a handheld instrument for measuring the level of radiation in the area, and claimed the machine had detected that the radiation level in the area was ‘very high.’
Earlier, the state government had sent a team of the district administration from South West Khasi Hills district to verify the leakage of the tanks but claimed according to the preliminary report, there was no such leakage.
The tanks were constructed a few decades ago for storing reportedly wastes extracted during the exploratory drilling for uranium deposits.
Such exploratory drilling had been carried out in many places of the uranium-rich deposits of South West Khasi Hills district.
Various anti-uranium groups have strongly opposed exploratory drilling activities as well as any move to mine uranium from Meghalaya.
The Atomic Minerals Directorate (AMD) announced a few years back, decided to stop exploratory drilling for uranium in South West Khasi Hills district.
There was a proposal by the Centre and the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) to mine uranium from the Kylleng-Pyndengsohïong-Mawthabah area in South West Khasi Hills district. Meghalaya has an estimated 9.22 million tons of uranium ore deposits.