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Nuclear Lives: Uranium Mining, Indigenous Peoples, and Development in India

BENGT G KARLSSON
Economic and Political Weekly
Vol. 44, No. 34 (AUGUST 22-28, 2009), pp. 43-49
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25663470
Page Count: 7
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Nuclear Lives: Uranium Mining, Indigenous Peoples, and Development in India
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Abstract

India's nuclear programme has suffered from a shortage of uranium. As elsewhere in the world, the main uranium deposits are located on lands belonging to indigenous or tribal peoples. This paper discusses the unfolding controversy relating to uranium mining in the West Khasi Hills of Meghalaya. The government-owned Uranium Corporation of India has for long been trying to get access to the deposits of uranium, but has failed due to local opposition. During the past two years the government has stepped up its efforts to allow mining in Meghalaya and seeks to win over local people with promises of development. Although a reasonable proposition for some, there is also a strong opposition to this, usually citing either health reasons or issues having to do with ethnic sovereignty and indigenous rights. Allowing uranium mining, it is argued, would lead to the loss of indigenous lands and open the region to a large-scale influx of non-tribal people.

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