FROM A REPORTER
SHILLONG, August 1: Bowing down to pressure from anti-uranium mining groups, the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) has reverted from its earlier decision of approving the issuance of No Objection Certificate (NOC) for the construction of a two-lane road project from Nongstoin-Wahkaji and Wahkaji-Phlangdiloin-Ranikor.
The KHADC in a crucial meeting with the pro and anti-road project groups held at its conference hall on Monday, after listening to the opinions from both the groups, filly decided to scrap the proposed issuance of NOC for the two lane road project.
In the meeting Chaired by CEM KHADC P N Syiem has instead took the decision to allot Rs 20 crores from 133 crores sanctioned by the central government through the Special Assistance scheme for repairing of roads, much to the disappointment of the pro-road organizations.
Speaking to reporters at the end of the crucial meeting, Syiem said, “We have decided to repair the existing road for the people to have better access to road connectivity and Rs 20 crore from the Special Assistance scheme of Rs 133 crore has been earmarked for this purpose.”
“At the same time we will write to the Uranium Corporation of India (UCIL) officially to show our opposition to pre-mining activities once we have completed our Executive Committee meeting,” he added.
The repair will start from Nongstoin (10 km) under Nongstoin division and remaining 33 km is under Mawkyrwat division and other divisions, he informed.
“Out of the Rs 20 crore, Rs 15 crore will be sanctioned for road repair and Rs 5 crore for new approach road to which villages will be identified,” he said. Khasi Student Union (KSU) president Daniel Khyriem has welcomed the decision of the KHADC to scrap the proposed NOC for the road project.
“We want the KHADC to write to the state and central government to cancel all the tenders floated by UCIL which has a desire to introduce pre mining of uranium in the region and also to start with the road repair at the earliest,” he said.
Interestingly in a contradicting statement made by secretary of Joint Action Committee Two-Lane Road Nongstoin-Mawthabah (JACTLRNM) Sandy Myrthong said, “We are not happy with the decision taken by the KHADC on the two-lane road project since the Council should reject all projects which clearly states to facilitate uranium mining.”
“We support the suggestion made by the HSPDP in which they said that any project which states to facilitate uranium mining no NOC should be given so as not to divide the opinion of the people of the state,” he added. He said the Joint Action Committee will continue to fight for the cause of the people of the region to avail the two-lane road project, while also alleging that the meeting was one sided.