New uranium site in Karnataka

But will mining displace 50,000 families in Karnataka?

 
Published: Thursday 15 June 2006

the department of atomic energy (dae) has found a site with rich uranium deposits near Belgaum in Karnataka. The mineral has been located in a 25 km radius of Deshnur village, about 50 km from Belgaum.

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Following the find, the state government has directed villagers in the area to move out. It is feared that mining would displace at least 50,000 families from Deshnur and adjoining villages such as Hogarti, Koladri, Mare and Koldur.

The state government claims that the displaced families will be rehabilitated on government land and in social forest zones in Khanapur taluka of Belgaum district and given proper compensation. But environmentalists are not convinced. They allege there is no place in Khanapur for rehabilitation, as people displaced under other projects are still struggling for space.

Besides, while the Centre is yet to declare the uranium concentration at Deshnur, the state government says it cannot decide on the rehabilitation and compensation package as it is a Central government project.

As of now, scientists of the Central Atomic Research Centre, Bhaba Atomic Research Centre and Tarapur Atomic Research Centre are exploring the site. They plan to drill to a depth of 609.6 metres to figure out uranium levels. As India awaits the benefits of its nuclear agreement with the us, it is intensifying its exploration activities for indigenous uranium deposits.

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