HYDERABAD: The proposed uranium mining project in Nalgonda district which was practically shelved, may get a new lease of life by the Uranium Corporation of India Ltd (UCIL). Following adverse public reaction to the proposed mining project, the previous united Andhra Pradesh government had refused permission for the project. This despite the fact that the UCIL had secured all required clearances from the central government. This included clearances from the Union ministry of environment.
"All the clearances that we took for the mining project have elapsed. We have to start afresh now," N M Bahl, UCIL executive director for projects (South) told TOI.
The new BJP government at the Centre and TRS government in the newly carved out Telangana will be approached about the project proposals. UCIL had proposed to undertake uranium mining in the Peddagattu-Lambapur region in Nalgonda district as uranium deposits were found there. The plan was to construct three underground mines and one open cast mine for which the central government had also sanctioned Rs 637 crore. UCIL proposed to undertake processing at Seripally, at a distance of 54 km from the mining site. There was strong opposition to the project by locals and NGOs due to fears that it would result in drinking water getting contaminated. An NGO had argued that the water would become poisonous to drink. However, the National Environment Appellate Authority which looked into the complaints cleared the project.
"We could not go ahead with the uranium mining because of opposition by locals and inability of the previous AP government to give a clearance. We can undertake the project even now but it will have to be at the same site where the uranium deposits have been found. We cannot possibly do it elsewhere. We will certainly approach the Centre and Telangana government with our proposal," Bahl said.
It may be mentioned here that India needs uranium to supply fuel to nuclear power plants as the country has big plans of relying heavily on nuclear power for providing electricity. Authorities, however, have seen opposition to uranium mining or even setting up nuclear plants at different places in the country though they have been reiterating that it would be a safe proposition.