Saturday, June 15, 2024

HNYF not convinced by PHED assurance; collects water samples for testing


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By Our Reporter


A view of the water which is collected from the Umsohlang stream to the PHE dam before being pumped to the treatment plant. (ST)

SHILLONG: Even after reports regarding the unhygienic nature of the Umsohlang water source the PHE department has ‘rubbished’ the allegations about the non-potable nature of the water. The Department has not initiated steps to clean up the various water sources leading to Umsohlang stream.

A week after questions were raised over the quality of the water supplied to the residents of Mawlai localities through the Umsohlang stream, PHED has remained nonchalant.

A group of journalists along with the HNYF members had visited the various sources leading to the Umsohlang stream where they discovered several unhealthy activities taking place in and around the stream which are polluting the water sources.

This laid back attitude of the PHE department has raised a major question over the commitment of the Department to provide safe and clean drinking water to the people of the State.

Apart from the inspection by local MLA Founder Strong Cajee and Additional Chief Engineer SK Sunn nothing was initiated to check the pollution of the stream.

Sunn was supposed to head the joint inspection team of the Umsohlang stream with the HNYF on Tuesday but at the last minute, he assigned a junior officer of his department to replace him.

It was observed by the Mawlai residents that the Additional Chief Engineer is very much aware that the inspection exercise is an eyewash since he himself had been part and parcel of such joint inspections at least a dozen times.

“In the end the matter remains as it is,” the residents observed. It is learnt that many NGOs and politicians in the past have raised this issue only for gaining mileage.

Meanwhile, during the joint inspection on Tuesday, journalists found that the water storage is in a very filthy condition despite claims by the PHE junior engineer A Nengnong that they are cleaned thrice a year.

It was also found that the machinery used in the treatment plant is very old.

According to the junior engineer, the machinery had been installed since 1972.

This itself raises questions about the safety of the water supplied to the people.

It is also observed that there are tiny dirt particles even in the samples of the water supplied to the people after being treated.

Strangely, the Additional Chief Engineer, SK Sunn maintains that the water supplied to the people of Mawlai is totally safe after being treated in the treatment plant.

The HNYF has collected the samples of the treated water from Umsohlang stream.

The collected samples have been sent to Pasteur Hills Institute for proper tests to find out if the water is free from bacteria and fecal matter .Earlier, it was found that people living in Mawlai Mawdatbaki released their septic tanks directly into the drains which flow to the Umsohlang river.

What is appalling is that butchers wash the slaughtered meat and innards of the animals nearby and the waste water flows directly to the stream. But that’s not all. Close by is a person who operates a vehicle servicing centre and the waste water from this unit also flows directly into the water source.


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