In a rather brazen example of playing politics, Public Health Engineering Minister Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar said that the water supply situation in West Shillong was far better under the constituency’s previous MLA, Paul Lyngdoh.
Tongkhar and Lyngdoh (who is now the MDC for Jaiaw) visited Mawprem, which falls under West Shillong, to understand the reasons for water shortages in the neighbourhood.
West Shillong is currently held by Mohendro Rapsang, who was elected on a Congress ticket in 2018 but has subsequently been suspended from the party. Although Tongkhar is a Hill State People’s Democratic Party (HSPDP) legislator, it is understood that he will contest the next state elections under the United Democratic Party (UDP), which happens to be Lyngdoh’s party.
West Shillong and East Shillong are facing acute water shortages of late and their MLAs have met with Tongkhar and officials to try and find a solution to the problem. However, another meeting on Wednesday with the minister was cancelled, much to the two MLAs’ annoyance.
Speaking to reporters after the inspection, Tongkhar said that two authorities supply water to municipal areas, the PHE Department and Shillong Municipal Board. West Shillong’s shortage, he added, is due to the PHE but he put the onus on the SMB to repair leaking pipes. The PHE, in turn, will try to solve the water crisis in Mawprem by the end of the year, the minister added.
Despite taking some of the responsibility, he also went on to say that West Shillong’s water supply situation was far better 10 years ago when Lyngdoh was the local MLA.
“If it was okay in the past then it should be good enough now also,” Tongkhar said.
Lyngdoh, meanwhile, claimed that Mawprem was never short of water when he was its legislator but today’s inspection is one step on the road to resolving the problem. “Wherever there is a problem, there should be a solution too,” he said.