Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Mawlai and the Umsohlang Water supply


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A few days back the state of the drinking water supplied to the people of Mawlai from the Umsohlang reservoir hit the local headlines. The report based on a joint inspection carried out by some NGOs and Rangbah Shnong of the locality, authenticated by photographs, clearly showed the uncaring dumping of refuse and garbage all along the Umsohlang stream. The news report even mentioned discharge of overflowing septic tanks into the upper reaches of the Umsohlang.

The people of Mawlai had literally been fed shit. The next day a smooth and glib assurance came from some high official of the PHE Department that everything was under control and that there was nothing to worry about. The worry is exactly that- the way officialdom shirks responsibility at the risk of life and death to the general public ! The Public Health Department (PHE) is what it claims to be- an agency of the Government to ensure Public Health. Or am I mistaken? Now if the problem is that the people of Mawlai are being fed faecal contaminated drinking water ( um painkhana) and that too from a PHE water source, what was the response from the PHE? A disdainful off-hand and nonchalant press statement that all is under control? Is this acceptable when the very health of thousands of people stands threatened? Is the Government satisfied with this answer? Are the authorities concerned assured that all is well? Is the matter to be now filed and forgotten ? Is this what responsible governance is all about?

The official silence over the Umsohlang scandal is alarming. It is hoped that the Mawlai Town Dorbar takes up the matter with all the seriousness it demands. Why place at risk the health and life of the citizens of Mawlai. Immediately get some water samples from the Umsohlang water supply scheme and get them tested at Pastuer Institute as to whether the water is contaminated or not and if it is fit for human consumption. If faecal contamination is proved or if the water is found unfit for human consumption, file a PIL and defamation suit against the department and its officials and make them pay for all the water borne related illnesses the people of Mawlai have suffered , especially the poor who have unnecessarily lost precious man days and health for no fault of theirs. Its about time that officialdom realised that with job security and power there is also a responsibility and accountability to the public. You just can’t do what you like and get away with it!

Yours etc.,

Toki Blah,

Via email

 PWD affairs


Apropos the many letters on the quality of the work in road making by our PWD department I would like to point out that making a good road is very much like cooking a tasty dish – we need good and knowledgeable chefs (contractors, engineers, ministers, MLA’s), good quality ingredients and equipment (shingle, tar, machinery etc) and, most importantly, a love of and dedication to good cooking by these chefs (honesty in other words). These three, when properly combined will produce a mouth watering dish. Compare this with our road making department and what do we have? Well, we probably have the ingredients and the machinery but where is the dedication and love for the work ? Most of the cooks that we have in our state gobble up a large part of the ingredients before the meal can be made so what is left to put on the table? Substandard fare at best! So unless these dishonest chefs control their greed and unless they start working with a sense of honesty and pride we, the people, despite all the noise being made by the public, will, I am afraid, continue to ‘stew’.

Yours etc.,




 Electricity flip-flop


In as much as we respect the functioning of MeECL, of late we find that Laitumkhrah has been facing shut-downs every evening for which the residents, students and the shop owners who depend on electricity are affected. I even called the office of The Shillong Times to find out if there was a shut down notice but the ST office cordially replied ‘No’. Does the MeECL not have to inform the public about shut-down for repairs etc? Evening is the time for students to study especially with the ongoing final examinations. It is also the time for our daily marketing and peak business transactions for shop owners. We the consumers would like to know the reason behind these frequent shut downs? Who takes the decision to switch off the entire transmission? Are the decisions taken collectively or by an individual? With the last good monsoon we expect that shut downs should not be resorted to so early. Are the shut-downs due to poor quality equipments? Or is a big chunk of energy being diverted to please the influential giants of the Industrial Estates? Why this POWER shortage?

Yours etc.,

D Suiam,

Shillong -3

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