Hyderabad: Work to explore uranium deposits in an important reserve forest in Telangana has been suspended in view of public protests and disapproval of the state government.

Atomic Minerals Directorate for Exploration and Research (AMD), a union government body, announced that it was stopping work for the time being as the state government was not in its favour due to public anger.

AMD was planning to take up a survey and drill boreholes in Amarabad Tiger Reserve to estimate the uranium deposits in the region.

AMD director Dr AK Sinha told the media on the sidelines of a seminar on “Radiation and Environment’ in Hyderabad that the suspension of exploration was a “loss to Telangana” as many other states including Rajasthan and Jharkhand were more mining friendly and AMD was planning to take up the projects there.

The project was facing fierce opposition from mass organisations and the people in the area fearing radiation and environmental pollution.

On the opposition to uranium exploration in Amarabad Tiger Reserve, DK Sinha said that books with unscientific and false information were responsible for creating fear among the people. “There is a need to educate people that uranium exploration involving drilling boreholes as narrow as 52 mm was a common and safe procedure”.

He said that there was no hurry for exploration in Telangana as there were many other states like Rajasthan and Jharkhand who were welcoming the activity and AMD already has similar projects there.

He said the exploration of uranium was significant because it can throw up information of availability of other valuable minerals like gold and chromium.

Stating that Telangana was no more a focus state for ADM, Sinha said that a similar mine was being planned in Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh. The project was estimated to cost Rs 7 billion. A notification for a public hearing for this project will be issued in three months, he added.

Another site where the AMD has started prospecting was near Aalo town of Arunachal Pradesh, a few kms away from the India-China border, Sinha said. He said there was a good chance of finding atomic minerals in northeastern states of the country, including Arunachal Pradesh.