Special Correspondent

NEW DELHI: The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) on Thursday cleared the setting up of a uranium mine and processing plant at Tummalapalle in Kadapa district of Andhra Pradesh. To be set up by the Uranium Corporation of India, the estimated cost of the project has been pegged at Rs. 1,106.29 crore.

Announcing this after the CCEA meeting, Union Finance Minister said this project was being set up to meet the uranium fuel requirements of India’s nuclear power programme. Faced with questions about a possible linkage with the Indo-U.S. civilian nuclear deal, he sought to clarify that the two were not linked. “This is our own uranium. We will mine it, we will process it, and we will use it.”

The project will provide employment to 934 persons in various categories including to those affected by the setting up of the mine and processing plant. Payment has already been made for acquisition of the land, and the mine is likely to be commissioned within 30 months. The processing plant will be commissioned in 36 months.

Besides, the CCEA approved the continuation of the concession scheme on the sale of decontrolled phosphatic and potassic fertilizers for the remaining part of this fiscal to maintain the price-line. Also, the Additional Transport Subsidy Scheme for difficult areas will be continued till March 31, 2008, to ensure access to these fertilizers not just in the district headquarters but at the points of sale in remote corners of the country. The CCEA gave its nod for continuation of the Nutrition Programme for Adolescent Girls in this fiscal in 51 districts with minor modifications vis-À-vis eligibility criteria.