Prohibitory orders ahead of protests against uranium project

Shillong: Prohibitory orders have been imposed in parts of Meghalaya to foil a blockade called by the Khasi Students Union beginning tonight to protest the proposed uranium mining project in the state.

"Prohibitory orders under Section 144 CrPC have been clamped in view of the blockade call," East Khasi Hills deputy commissioner J Lyngdoh said.

The night blockade is from 7:00 pm today to 5:00 am. It will resume at 9:00 pm on Thursday night and continue till 5:00 am on Friday.

The KSU is protesting the state government's decision to lease 422 hectare to the UCIL in the uranium-rich areas of the state for taking up pre-project developmental work. Officials said that if required, Central paramilitary forces would be deployed to ensure that the blockade did not affect normal life.

Principal Secretary (Home) Barkos Warjri said SPs have been instructed to ensure free flow of traffic on highways. "Instructions have been given to officials to keep government vehicles in safe custody during the blockade hours," he said.

The government has leased out 422 sq hectares of land having uranium deposits in the West Khasi Hills for 30 years to UCIL for pre-project development work.

The UCIL had agreed to earmark Rs 209 crore for improving healthcare facilities, power, drinking water, educational institutions and roads.

The mining issue in Meghalaya has been hanging fire for more than two decades now with some prominent NGOs and political parties vehemently opposed to the proposal on the grounds that it would lead to degradation of the environment besides opening the floodgates for outsiders into the tribal state.

Bureau Report