Apropos your news item, “All party panel to end enrolment in the State”(ST 9thMay 2012) it was reported that the Chief Minister maintains that the State Government does not always have to abide by the directives of the Election Commission as mandated. If this is so, then the Government should have taken the initiative to study and modify such directives well ahead of the enrolment process and should not have waited for the public to agitate because of their apprehensions. While it is quite understandable that the Chief Electoral Officer would have to carry out the orders of the Commission in letter and spirit, it is also pertinent for the other top bureaucrats who hail from the State to apply their wisdom on what the Chief Minister claims is possible to be done. They should have taken prompt action the moment the warning signs manifested . After all, they are also the sons of the soil and should be equally responsible and apprehensive about the future of our State. Incidentally, this is not the only issue which these top bureaucrats failed to anticipate and take pre- emptive steps against. Instances have come to the fore when rank outsiders have been allowed to bring in unworkable projects and plans which are not viable for the State but would rather have undesirable consequences. Yet these outsiders have their way as our own bureaucrats do not have the capacity to intervene nor do they have the will and the commitment to take any initiative. When we say we have “our own people ” in important positions in the bureaucracy we expect that that they should be bold and courageous enough to pull all the stops to serve the people instead of serving only their political masters. It is unfortunate and disappointing that the present lot have failed to live up to expectations.
Depleting water resources
Apropos the editorial on Water Resources (21st April 2012), the slow death of our rivers and stream is indeed alarming. It’s high time that the Water Resources Department and other related Departments wake up to seriously address the issue . The Water Resources Department which has been set up by merely changing the nomenclature of the erstwhile Irrigation Department continues to dam existing rivers and streams for distribution of the impounded water to paddy fields. Having given the Department a new the Government is, however, yet to focus it’s attention on conservation measures in river catchments to ensure sustained flow of quality water for perpetuity. Strangely, the Soil and Water Conservation Department which used to create and maintain forest plantation on denuded areas on a large scale with the intention to conserve soil and water has also lately diverted its attention from this activity and is now competing with the Water Resources Department to avail funds from the Ministry of Water Resources for the construction of dams for irrigation. Officials of both these Departments fail to realise that too many dams on rivers and streams alter the aquatic ecology and hydrology of rivers upstream and downstream, affecting water quality, quantity and breeding grounds . They also seem to be short sighted to realise that unless the sources of water and the catchments are protected there will be no more water to dam in future . The Forest Department officials keep blaming the District Councils for depleting the catchments while they sit on a vast empire they have built without making any serious efforts to do anything and having no conscience about it. One wonder as to whether it is necessary to have this Department at all . Strangely, these Departments have not taken up constant mass awareness and publicity campaign particularly to the rural communities to make them aware of the need for conservation and to participate in the protection of our water resources . If our MP who is the Union Minister of Water Resources as well as our State Government officials miss the woods for the trees and are unconcerned , then Meghalaya’s water resources are indeed in extreme danger of not only being contaminated but also being depleted, and for which our future generation will pay the price.