GULBARGA: The Local Committee consisting of Dr J R Mudkavi (chairman) and Dr Shekhar Patil which has submitted its recommendations on safety measures to be taken for mining uranium at Gogi and surrounding villages has suggested that an independent knowledge centre be established in Gogi or Shahapur to provide information on all aspects — including those on radioactivity — of the project to the public.

The committee has suggested to develop an independent mini laboratory assessable to all the stakeholders to test water, soil, agriculture produce and radiation exposure to the needy.

The laboratory should be capable of monitoring uranium, radium- 226 and other relevant daughter radio nuclides, fluoride, arsenic, lead, iron and aluminium regularly in water, soil, agricultural produce, surface waters and ground waters, tanks and canals in the region in addition to toxic heavy metals, TDS), chloride, alkalinity etc.

Safe limits of radiation exposure and day to day levels of radioactive exposure be displayed prominently in the knowledge centre, the committee said.

UCIL [Uranium Corporation of India Ltd] should set up community fluoride removal treatment plants based on the Nalagonda technique for ground water in the affected villages.

The Committee which has observed that there were no well equipped private or government hospital in Gogi or Shahapur, has recommended to UCIL to establish its own well-equipped hospital with standard facilities at Gogi to meet the needs of employees and their dependants and local people and should provide free consultation and treatment.

In the long run, the hospital should also carry out health monitoring activities.

The hospital should have all basic amenities like casualty, surgical and medical, gynaecology and trauma centre with well equipped operation theatre, l a b o u r r o o m , investigations(Lab & Radiology), ICU, in-patient and OPD facilities.

The bio-medical waste management practices should be incorporated and ambulance facilities should be provided.

Sampling locations and frequency for air, water and soil to be decided in taking local requirements in to consideration, Committee said.

Primary coordinator and arbiter between UCIL and local issues should be AERB as far as radiological domains are concerned.

Grievance Redressal Committee (GRC) should also include a certified engineer and an eminent scientist.

Provisional measures for the economic upliftment are not adequate and hence these must be improved in consultation with local NGOs and Deputy Commissioner and District in-charge minister, committee suggested.

It has suggested UCIL to extend the hospitality of taking the farmers from Gogi, Sadiapur, Sultanpur etc to Jaduguda to assure them of the safety provisions being employed in and around the mines.

They should know about the difference between open cast and underground mining, tailings ponds and waste treatment facilities around Jaduguda.

The selected people for visiting Jaduguda must be graduates or post graduates who can explain the environmental aspects of uranium mining to others, committee said.

In its last recommendation, the committee has asked to monitor all the persons living within a 10 km radius of the mines and processing plants medically and routinely.

A database must be maintained, including those of mine workers.

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See also: India’s third uranium mining unit at Gogi by Srinivas Sirnoorkar, published in the Deccan Herald on May 13, 2011.