‘Time to win over land owners’

By Our Reporter

 SHILLONG: After blaming the land tenure system prevalent in the State for the gradual environmental degradation in Meghalaya, Forest and Environment Minister, Prestone Tynsong, on Thursday advocated the need to win over the land owners in order to save the dwindling water bodies of the State.

Concerned over the abysmal affects of sand and stone quarrying on the rivers and streams of the State which is also having an adverse impact on the Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme (GSWSS), Tynsong said, “It is very difficult to implement the existing Acts unless the land owners and private individuals are brought into their fold.”

Unscientific quarrying of hills and rivers is drying water resources in the State and recently a group of journalists discovered that unregulated sand mining and stone quarrying activities along Umtyngngar River is posing a serious threat to water bodies which feed the GSWSS at Mawphlang.

The mud-spattered Umtyngngar River converges with Umiew River along which stands the dam which is the source of water for the GSWSS.

While admitting that sand and stone quarrying pose serious hazards to the streams, Tynsong said a joint meeting between officials of the Forest, Mining and  Geology departments along with  Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (PCCF) and State Pollution Control Board was convened recently to discuss the matter.
During the meeting, the Minister directed the PCCF and the Chairman of the State Pollution Control Board to work out modalities for saving the streams from the onslaught of quarrying.
Another meeting on the matter will be convened in a few days time to chalk out “clear-cut directions for necessary action”.

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