In a major development, the state government in Meghalaya has decided to probe into the reports of leakage of toxic waste from tanks containing uranium wastes in South West Khasi Hills district.
A high-level review meeting was held on Friday where it was decided to immediately set up an expert panel to probe the reports of radiation emission from Domiasiat in West Khasi hills, said Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong.
Several NGOs, civil society groups, village heads and locals from the area have reported about high radioactive emission in areas close to the uranium waste storage tanks, sources said.
State’s chief secretary MS Rao has been given the task to set up the panel.
There are four effluent storage tanks and two other reservoirs at the Domiasiat-Nongbah-Jynrin area, which have developed wide cracks causing leakage of toxic waste, locals have alleged.
These tanks were built a few decades ago reportedly for storing wastes extracted during the exploratory drilling for uranium deposits.
The area has one of the best uranium reserve in the country. Deposits – estimated to be 9.22 million tons – are located in Domiasiat, Lostoin and Wahkyn areas in central Meghalaya, officials added.
Exploratory drilling had been carried out in many places of the uranium-rich deposits in the state and thus such tanks have been made, official further added.
The Department of Atomic Energy had long back came up with a mega plan to harness Meghalaya’s Uranium. Uranium Corporation of India Ltd. (UCIL) was given this task. However, due to strong local protests and huge agitations the project has been stuck.