By Our Reporter
SHILLONG, July 21: Miffed at Urban Affairs Minister Sniawbhalang Dhar’s failure to inspect the landfill site at Marten on the outskirts of Shillong, the Seng Samla Mawlai Pyllun (SSMP) locked the gates and stopped all the garbage trucks heading to Marten.
The SSMP closed the gate early Wednesday morning forcing the garbage trucks to line up near Marten to dump the garbage. The long queue of garbage trucks slowed the movement of other vehicles on the arterial G.S. Road.
SSMP general secretary Samran Syiem told media persons that the government’s lack of seriousness in resolving the matter compelled them to lock the gates.
“We met the Minister regarding this matter and gave him a 14-day deadline to inspect the site. He promised to visit the site in a week’s time, but failed to do so even after two weeks,” he said.
Concerned about the government’s inability to identify a new landfill site, the SSMP has been demanding a long-term solution. It had prepared a presentation that was to have been submitted to the government on the condition that Dhar would inspect the site.
“Since the solid waste management treatment plant at Marten is overloaded, we want the government to start reducing the garbage from there and find a new landfill. Why can’t the government use the abandoned rat-hole mines in East Jaintia Hills for dumping the garbage?” Syiem asked.
The SSMP also asked the government to acquire proper technology to treat the biomedical waste at Marten. Syiem said the Meghalaya government could take a leaf out of the NEIGHRIHMS book of treating biomedical waste.
He also said the SSMP’s decision to close the gates and stop the garbage trucks was not to cause any inconvenience to the commuters but to convey a strong message to the government.
Meanwhile, the Chief Executive Officer of the Shillong Municipal Board has written to the SSMP saying a joint inspection would take place on July 31.
The ‘Dorbar Thaw Ain’
While their intention was to garner the attention of the government, the Federation of Khasi States (FKS) has flagged some issues in the wake of the incident at Marten, which, according to it, needs to be addressed by the government.
While suggesting that the Dorbar Hima of Mylliem Syiemship must be convened, John F Kharshiing, adviser and spokesperson of FKS, called for formation of the long-pending ‘Dorbar Thaw Ain’ (Assembly) of Hima Mylliem, which, he said, should comprise 200 members including Rangbah Shnong, village elders by rotation, representatives of the 16 Dorbar Raid, as well as 20 nominated representatives including five women from the village, Raid or Hima, to deliberate on civic issues — availability and allocation of land for garbage recycling areas etc — arising out of the agitation of the Seng Samla Mawlai Pyllun.
Casting aspersions on the Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC), Kharshiing alleged that there has been “obvious and suspicious lack of interest” by many Executive Committees of the KHADC in regards of the improvement of the administration of Hima Mylliem. “This can be seen with the unending long list of appointment of acting Chiefs, while in the political arena of India, when a seat becomes vacant by constitution of India the seat is filled within six months,” he added.
“When will KHADC review the provisions of the Acts and Rules of the Hima Mylliem to make them relevant as per the times? It is also shocking that the February 15, 1957, recommendations and report of the UK&JHADC Commission of Inquiry relating to Mylliem Syiemship since 1957 is yet to be fully implemented,” he said.