Shillong was paralysed by a 36-hour bandh called by Khasi Student's Union protesting Tuesday's public hearing on uranium mining in Meghalaya's West Khasi Hills
SHILLONG: Life in Shillong was paralysed following a 36-hour bandh that began this morning was called by the Khasi Student's Union protesting Tuesday's public hearing on uranium mining in Meghalaya's West Khasi Hills district.
The hearing convened by the Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board (MSPCB) is scheduled to be held at Nongbah Jynrin village, near the proposed mining site at Kylleng-Pyndengsohiong Uranium ore and processing plant at Mawthabah.
The bandh coupled with monsoon rains, which have pounded Shillong for the last one week forced people to remain indoors.
Almost all state and central government establishments, educational and financial institutions remained closed even as the government warned of a pay cut and other punitive actions against those who failed to turn up at work. Thin attendance was recorded in most of the government offices, Chief Secretary Ranjan Chatterjee said.
He, however, said there had been no report of any untoward incident from any part of the state.
The bandh also cut off many northeastern states including Mizoram, Tripura, Barak Valley of Asom and parts of Manipur from the rest of the country as National Highways- 40 and 44 were out of bounds.
Chief Minister D D Lapang had appealed to the KSU, and the anti-mining lobbies not to disrupt the proposed public hearing to enable the central and state governments to assess the opinion of the people on uranium mining.
The Uranium Corporation of India Limited has proposed to develop an open cast mining at Kylleng-Pyndengsohiong uranium ore and processing plant at Mawthabah.
The Rs 300 crore project in 1992 had been revised to Rs 814 crore at present and was strongly opposed by the anti-mining groups, including the HSPDP and KHNAM, allies of the Congress-led Meghalaya Democratic Alliance government.
The Atomic Minerals Directorate (AMD) had found uranium oxide reserves estimating 9,500 tonne in the state. The sandstone type uranium deposits in Meghalaya were the largest, richest, near-surface and low-cost discovered in India so far, UCIL officials claimed.