Film fest disseminates pros and cons of uranium mining


By Our Reporter

SHILLONG: The two-day Uranium Film Festival which kicked started in the city on Thursday provided a chance for the audience to ponder and initiate their own judgement on issue relating to nuclear energy and uranium mining.

Hosted by the Khasi Students’ Union (KSU) at Majestic Hotel, Polo, the travelling film festival managed to attract many people including political leaders, social activists, medical practitioners, authors, academicians, students besides others.

A total of seven documentaries screened on the first day spoke volumes of the positive and negative aspects of uranium mining and left the audience pondering over the fate of the people if uranium mining is at all carried out in the State.

The travelling film festival which will travel to Ranchi after Shillong and end in Mumbai was organised with an aim to bridge the gap between experts’ views and independent knowledge of people on nuclear energy by showcasing films based on experiences of people coming in contact with nuclear energy all over the world.

Providing a short review on the documentaries, Maitshaphrang convener Michael Syiem said, “In the films that have been screened today there is a clear depiction that though uranium mining can boost the economic growth of the country, yet, there is no such technology which has been developed to ensure safe and risk-free uranium mining.”

Noting the fact that Meghalaya acquires an important place in the uranium map of the country, Syiem said the government however, should not consider giving a green signal to uranium mining in the State as this could contaminate the ecosystem as well as put its people living around the mining area in high risk.

Chairman of the Council of Grand Chiefs of Meghalaya, John F Kharshiing, spoke at length about the secret executive orders and decisions, stating that such orders are made in the name of national interest while sacrificing the good of the Khasi race.

He also called on opinion makers to provide time and to see for themselves the very informative documentaries and requested the KSU and other NGOs to organize similar programmes all over the State to enlighten the Khasi, Jaintia and Garo people on the perils of uranium mining.

Laying emphasis on the risk of taking the ‘nuclear path’, the festival director from Brazil, Norbert G Suchanek reiterated that societies and people have the right to choose whether they want to follow the nuclear road or not.

Stating that very less information is being disseminated by the government, Suchanek said good films on uranium and nuclear energy can enhance the understanding of the people on the issue.

Another set of seven documentaries will be screened on Friday at the same venue.