Exploiting ground water 

Editor,

I am a resident of Nongrim Hills and wish to inform that the Dorbar Shnong Nongrim Hills together with all the residents of the locality led by the then Headman, Mr Joshua Kharkongor had agreed upon and stood against the drilling of water in 2008. Then, in 2013, the Landmark Hotel located in Upper Nongrim Hills went ahead with the drilling of water in their premises. Again, this time too, the Dorbar Shnong led by the then Headman, Mr. James Lyngwa and  General Secretary, Bantylli Narry, with the support of all the residents of the locality managed to stop the drilling.

But, surprisingly, in May 2019, the Landmark Hotel was given permission to drill water in their premises by the Executive Committee Dorbar Shnong headed by the present Headman, Mr. Bantylli Narry, who spearheaded the protest in 2013. He now claims that this is a community service.

Attached to this email are letters to the Rangbah Shnong and signed by the residents of Nongrim Hills and also a letter to the C.E.M KHADC. I request the local MLA, MDC and the KHADC to intervene and stop this destructive process.

Paul Andy Kharkongor

(A concerned resident of Nongrim Hills),

Shillong-14

LCS at Dawki

Editor,

The Land Customs Station (LCS) at Dawki (Tamabil) is quite an important border crossing point on the Indo-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya. The LCS, however, requires some facelift. There are no proper arrangements for seating passengers and  neither is there a proper place to fill up the required forms either by the foreign visitors or by the Indian tourists intending to cross over to the foreign country. In addition, the washrooms are horrible and one is afraid that the circumstances might lead to severe health problems. Moreover, due to heavy traffic of stone loaded trucks heading towards the international border-crossing and the fleet of empty lorries that return after unloading the heavy materials there is hardly any space for the small cars at the LCS gate. There are no traffic policemen to help and control the movement of heavy commercial vehicles. Secondly, to gain an ecstatic experience the tourists keep visiting the spot to have a glance of the border crossings but do not find any proper place to park their vehicles, both private and hired. Further, the road right at the border gate and up to the no-man’s land is in a very bad shape with pot holes and slush. The authorities may thus prepare a road map and make sure that it matches the expectations of the masses and create a proper impression of India in general and Meghalaya in particular.

Yours etc.,

Bibhash Dhar,

Via email

Plan-B for the Umiam Bridge

Editor,

Whenever I pass through the Umiam bridge a thought crosses my mind as to what would happen to Shillong City and the people living downstream (Umroi side), should there be any major crack and the dam gives way and the bridge collapses. Shillong would be totally disconnected but it will be a disaster for people living below the dam and the surrounding areas. We have heard stories from across the world of major dam collapse like in Brazil, China and India too. The miseries and tragedies are unimaginable. There will be loss of power supply, loss of lives, loss of connectivity. The Umiam Dam, built in the early 1960s has already crossed its shelf life. It is one of the major dams of the North East and of the State in particular. The bridge over the dam is the only connecting link to Shillong.

Heavy and incessant rains in Shillong and nearby areas in the past few days make me think of the consequences that would follow should the dam collapse owing to the pressure from the volume of water and the heavy traffic (24/7) along the bridge. I am not pessimistic but rather realistic on this issue. My humble request as a citizen to the Power Department and the PWD Department is to have a unified approach and immediately plan to construct an alternative road linking Shillong with the National Highway. There should be a conscious effort by these Departments to think and act correctly and immediately to avoid any grave consequences should any major mishap arises, which we hope and pray will not!

Yours etc.,

R.N. Rymbai,

Shillong-8

The water we drink

Editor,

Going through Toki Blah’s “Need for people’s movements on urban governance” (ST July 9, 2017),I believe Mr. Blah has opened up a Pandora’s box on what kind of water we drink right now. Had the editorial not come, then ignorance would have been bliss. Lack of visionary leaders and our simplicity had totally changed the geography of our rivers giving rise to fresh pattas for human settlements as the rivers do not possess sales deeds to protect their natural boundaries. This is amply visible in Wah Demthring and in Wah Dhankheti. The aqua-duct from our Pine brook (so beautiful a name) to Ward’s lake was demolished a long time ago. Worst of all is the dirty politics all along the Wah Umkhrah with a beautiful scenic race course and signboards in furlongs (1/8 of a mile. Now we see slums all along and the content of water is 1% as compared to vehicle waste and human waste. Crossing this river is not advisable as no skin specialist can treat anyone who develops a skin problem after wading in it. It is a dead river as the Lukha, once an angler’s paradise is today. We see no planning at all for the fast growing city be it in water management or construction laws or roads.

The old Jowai road through Loreto school which if expanded in the 1972’s would have lessened traffic snarl was never attended to. The remaining forest cover that guards the water hole in the slopes of Lum Shyllong overlooking Shillong, would soon be done away with as combating traffic snarl is more precious than water which had become very noisy this week when KV School at Mawphlang had to be closed, forgetting the other many such activities all along the river from Assam Rifles housing complex to the reservoir. In the midst of all these, climate change the culprit for snatching Sohra world’s wettest place (which our CM boasted in Switzerland) was never attended to, save in G.20 summit. India ranks third in pollution and it will move to trhe first place when Adani would assure more trillion tons of coal to be thrust on to an 18th century James Watt engine. Prime Minister Modi’s assurance of free water for all is just a day dream.

Our old environmentalist died fasting to call for cleaning the Ganges, the promise to clean it was made by Modi after the 2014 win. Television debates are dominated by politics when Muslims are blamed for polluting the holy river by the leather industry. The Prime Minister’s clarion call to our village headmen is not for 2019, but for 2022 as Rome was not built in a day even if JCB’s were there. And we should handle our rivers with respect as these rivers, especially the Surmah ones do have short temper in the monsoon. I once rebuked my bosom friend for dumping coal on his paddy field. He replied, “I eat Punjab white rice.” I am going to meet him one day to ask him what kind of water he cooks his rice with.

Yours etc.,

  1. Khyriem,

Shillong -14

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