Will examine demand for inquiry into uranium tank leakage: Meghalaya CM

Shillong, Oct 13 (PTI) Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma has said his government would examine a demand for an independent inquiry into alleged leakage of toxic waste from tanks containing uranium effluents in South West Khasi Hills, weeks after locals claimed cracks have developed in them.

Sangma also said that experts and government agencies have inspected the concrete tanks and assured him that no such leakage has been detected.

“We will get the demand examined… and after holding discussions with the forest and environment department and other agencies, we will take a call on how to move forward on this matter,” he told reporters on Monday evening.

Several NGOs and environment enthusiasts have earlier said that a high level of radioactive emission has been recorded in areas close to the storage tanks.

“We are equally concerned about the situation. As I said, all agencies working on this have clearly indicated that no such leakage has occurred,” the chief minister said.

Meghalaya is the third uranium-rich state in the country, after Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand.

The Hynniewtrep Youth Council (HYC) — a splinter group of Khasi Students’ Union – had, in particular, demanded an independent probe into last month’s alleged leak, and sought the intervention of environment minister James Sangma.

It threatened to approach the National Green Tribunal (NGT), if the government fails to address local concerns.

“We want the government to immediately institute an independent inquiry by an expert team into the apparent leakage of radioactive effluents from the uranium tanks in South West Khasi Hills district,” HYC president Robertjune Kharjahrin told PTI.

He said a recent inspection by an HYC delegation found out that four effluent-storage tanks and two other reservoirs have developed wide cracks.

“Given the circumstances, the government should take measures to seal these uranium tanks immediately in the interest of local people,” Kharjahrin said.