The recent concern over the pollution of the Umiam Lake has been revived again by pictures of dirty plastic and other garbage in the lake which had gone viral over social media.In this connection I recollect an important meeting of all heads and secretaries of various departments of the Govt.of Meghalaya which was convened by late Mr EK Mawlong soon after he took over as Chief Minister.This meeting was unique because unlike all govt.meetings the chief minister requested Mr P Kharkongor, IAS to offer a prayer before we start the meeting. Many issues were discussed but one very important issue which I believed was the concern of late Mr Mawlong was the heavy silting of the Umiam Lake. He had suggested that a series of check dams be built along the Umkhrah and Umshyrpi Rivers. This would prevent silting to a great extent. A decision was taken that concerned departments namely MSEB (at that time). PWD, PHE, Urban Affairs, Municipality, District Council Affairs etc. should take action and prepare project reports for execution. His suggestion never saw the light, perhaps because as with all multi-department projects, no department would take initiative and own the project,unless earmarked.
We noticed that iron nettings were constructed along the bank of the Umkhrah River which I guess had cost a lot of money.We do not know how much they have prevented people from throwing garbage into the river.We notice check- dams were constructed in the Umtyngar River to prevent silting of the dam of the Greater Shillong Water Works. Unless experts have alternative scientific methods, as a layman I think these check-dams would have prevented all the garbage we notice today from pouring into the lake. Periodic cleaning of these check-dams could be easily done.Of course strict implementation of garbage clearance by every household should be enforced with fines, only after creating enough awareness of all concerned.
Former Director, Education
Shillong’s poor drainage
The relentless rains have been really hard for the people of Meghalaya especially for the people of Shillong. The rain has disturbed daily activities and daily life. It’s hard to walk around the city without getting soaked in overflowing drain water. But why is this happening? What is the reason that our roads are flooding and even our compounds are getting flooded?
Shillong is blessed abundant rainfall every year but when it comes to proper drainage we are still lagging far behind. The lack of proper drainage system is leading to flash floods in the urban areas from rivers like Umshyrpi and Umkhrah Humans have reduced the size of the water bodies by encroaching on it and building walls around the rivers thereby restricting their flow. And not only are the waters from these rivers rising to danger levels but they’re also very polluted which is another concern for those bearing the brunt of the floods. Moving around has become really difficult in places like these.
We no longer have time to think on what people should do and not do. We have debated enough on these issues. Now is the time to act on how to control these floods. The Government alone cannot be held responsible for solving this problem. We must join hands as proud residents of Shillong and make sure that the city lives up to its name.
Reakor Shisha Kharkrang
Al Qaeda’s macabre plans
It is disheartening to learn that the al Qaeda chief Ayman al-Zawahari, in his first video on Kashmir, has asked terrorists to inflict ‘unrelenting blows’ on the Indian Army and the government to bleed the economy and make the country suffer. It may be recalled that Zawahari took over the reins of al Qaeda after the death of Osama bin Laden. In the video, Zawahari said, “ I am of the view that the Mujahideen in Kashmir- at this stage at least – should focus with single mind on inflicting unrelenting blows on the Indian Army and the government so as to bleed the Indian economy and make India suffer sustained losses in man-power and equipment.” The video has also asked the terrorists to establish stronger channels of communication with their Muslim brethren all over the world.
Zawahari’s exhortation to fight in Kashmir is not specific but part of the worldwide Muslim community’s ‘Jihad against a vast array of forces.’ Another shocking exhortation of the al Qaeda chief is that all the Islamic scholars must propagate this message of Jihad.
India must consider this as a very serious issue and Zawahari’s statement has indeed given a real shot in the arm of the armed terrorists in Kashmir, who otherwise had been keeping a low profile. But the most unfortunate thing was that the chief had not mentioned the real reason to unleash ‘jihad’ on the Indian Army and the government. What did India do to become the target of their attack? India started to react when so many innocent people were being killed by the armed terrorists. Wasn’t the country right when it took pre-emptive measures to counter or thwart the attempt of terrorists who killed innocent people without any valid reasons at all? Does al Qaeda justify killing innocent people? If they justify killing the innocent then people have to single them out and expose their real intentions. Why cannot they utter a single syllable of love in their entire life? Have they ever shown mercy or compassion on their enemies? Have they ever included ‘repentance’ in their lexicon of life? Have they ever deeply considered the aftermath of their macabre killing plans? Needless to say, their hearts are steeled to commit any extreme of sin.
In the light of the release of the video detailing plans of attacking the Indian Army and the Indian government, security must be beefed up in Kashmir and elsewhere in the country. Muslim brothers must not fall prey to the evil plans of the terrorist organisations and let them remain loyal to India. Their lives are precious and must not be cut short through violent ways.