Concentrated development of specific areas vis-à-vis underdevelopment in peripheral areas of Meghalaya
The proposed uranium mining by the Uranium Corporation of India Limited (UCIL) in Domiasiat and Mawthabah villages, in the West Khasi Hills of Meghalaya, has met with considerable resistance from the indigenous people and the local government despite promises of material gains and infrastructural and commercial development. The region, located over 70 kilometres away from the capital Shillong, has been left out of the development project and is thus a far cry in terms of the aforementioned facilities. This has led to a state of polarization whereby Shillong becomes the “centre” of facilities, while villages like Domiasiat and Mawthabah consequently form the “periphery,” as they develop a dependency on this so-called centre to fulfil their needs in terms of education, health, finances and employment.
The high trade-off from uranium mining ventures come at the cost of tribal cultural considerations as well as irreversible environmental damage; a fact well known to the local population through past experiences. This chapter explores the reasons for such sporadic implementation of the development initiatives, resulting in the emergence of “dependent centres,” while also identifying applicable concepts for addressing such situations.