There is hue and cry among the public because of acute water supply in various parts of the city.
One such locality is Oxford Hill Kenches Trace, under South Shillong constituency.
Speaking to Highland Post, the headman of the locality, G Lyngdoh, said that shortage of water in the locality has been at its worst in the past two years.
“Our area, especially the Dunoon Compound and Oxford Hill area, are facing acute water shortage. Two new water reservoirs have also been constructed – one at Oxford Hill and the other one at Dunoon Compound – under this Dorbar Shnong for almost three years now but no water supply has been brought to these new water reservoirs,” he said.
Informing that the last inspection was carried out in October 2022 along with engineers from the Shillong Municipal Board (SMB), officials, the local MLA and members from the Dorbar Shnong, where it was agreed to bring new water pipelines to supply these two water reservoirs. However, he lamented that nothing fruitful has happened to date and people are buying water almost every alternative day.
Lyngdoh added that even though this matter has been brought many times to the notice of the Executive Engineer of the Public Health Engineering Department and the CEO of the SMB, no steps have been taken from their end.
“We are happy to hear about the Smart City project but sad to say that there is nothing smart if necessity like water supply is not proper,” he added bitingly.
Meanwhile, KHNAM leader Thomas Passah said today that the Supreme Court has protected the right to water as a fundamental human right as part of Article 21 of the Constitution.
“The right to safe and clean water is an aspect of the right to life. However, we have observed that there is failure of the state government to provide clean and sufficient drinking water to the residents of the state for all these years,” he said.
Passah said that this is the reason he filed a PIL in the Meghalaya High Court because of the alleged mismanagement of water supply, particularly in Shillong city despite various schemes and rules.
“There is the Meghalaya Water Harvesting Mission 2008, Meghalaya Rules of Water Supply 2008, Meghalaya State Water Policy 2019, Jal Jeevan Mission 2019 and Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme 2009 that have all not managed to ensure sufficient water supply due to the fact that the authorities prefer to overlook the issue,” Passah said.
Buying water from private tankers can cost anywhere between Rs 700 to Rs 1,000 for 1,000 litres, a huge increase on the Rs 8 to Rs 20 as mandated under the Rules of Water Supply 2008, he added.
Although the Chief Minister yesterday claimed that Meghalaya would achieve the targets set under the JJM by March 2024, KHNAM cast doubt on this. Even when residents do get water, there are health concerns, as one pressure group found that the vast majority of neighbourhoods in Greater Shillong are receiving water contaminated with bacteria, high mineral content, etc.