UCIL posing serious health hazards: Task Force report

Firm letting out effluents into lake at Gogi village in Yadgir dist

In a nine-page ‘feedback’ report, prepared by the Task Force on the proposed uranium mining and processing project at Gogi, Task Force Chairman Anant Hegde Ashisar said the villagers are worried about the contamination of the drinking water source.

Besides, several borewells drilled by the UCIL to ascertain the density of uranium deposits have caused harmful effects on the ecology. “The villagers are, therefore, facing severe health problems. The drinking water contamination problem should be addressed immediately,” he has said.

The local residents are worried about the health and environment safety of the project proposed to be implemented by the UCIL, a Government of India undertaking. The Government should look into the concerns raised by the people before giving final clearance to the project. The State High Level Clearance Committee headed by the Chief Minister has already accorded in-principle approval to the project.

Residents’ request

The Task Force has also recommended to the Government to stop acquisition of land for the project, until people’s apprehensions were addressed. The Government should also consider the views of the local body, on priority. The Gogi gram panchayat had requested the Government to stop the survey and mining work in the village, as several were suffering from skin diseases due to contamination of the drinking water, the report stated.

“The villagers and local medical professionals have strongly expressed their fear that there would have been an increase in the background radiation-level due to the hazardous uranium prospective mining. However, the villagers and the local administration are not aware of any mechanism to measure it.

Therefore, the Government should ensure that appropriate instruments like Geiger Counters or Airborne Gamma-Ray Spectrometer were installed to measure the current radiation level,” the report, a copy of which was released to the media, stated.

The Task Force recommended the Government to get “authentic” and “reliable” reports on health and environment safety issues before taking the final decision on giving permission to the proposed project.

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