‘Catchment areas, water sources under threat’

SHILLONG, Aug 26: Public Health Engineering (PHE) Minister, Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar has expressed concern over the threat to the catchment areas in the state due to various human activities. He also lamented the drying up of some sources of water.
Speaking at the inaugural function of the North East Water Conclave on Friday, he said the state government can explore the possibility of acquiring the at-risk catchment areas to put a stop to such unwanted activities.
The conclave was organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce at the State Convention Centre.
Tongkhar later told reporters that the government would need financial support from the Centre for acquiring the catchment areas.
The acquisition is crucial for protecting these catchment areas, he said.
Underlining the need for the catchment areas to remain untouched, he advocated extensive tree plantation in these areas. Tongkhar pointed out that a majority of the catchment areas are privately owned. “The landowners would be more than happy to allow the government to acquire these areas if they are compensated,” he said.
But the state government will have the financial resources only if the Centre helps, he added.
Tongkhar revealed that the PHE department had to divert the source of many of the water supply schemes since the sources identified initially had dried up.
He said the state experiences the highest volume of rainfall but has not been able to retain this “blessing”. Much of the rainwater Meghalaya receives flows down to Bangladesh, he said.
“We need to contain rainwater by encouraging people to take up rainwater harvesting. It is alarming to see many of the rivers and water sources drying up,” he said.
The PHE Minister also suggested an in-depth study for finding ways and means to contain the rainwater the state is blessed with.
He observed that people engaged in stone quarrying and sand mining will be affected if the state government decides to ban any activities along the river beds. “But the people should realise the importance of water for the survival of mankind on this planet,” he said.
Raising concerns over the drying up of check dams and rivers, Tongkhar said it is necessary to find the reasons why this is happening and urged all the stakeholders to work together to tackle the problems and solve them at the right time.
Others who spoke at the conclave included SC Sadhu, secretary of the state’s Water Resource Department, Aankur Patni, executive director of Ion Exchange India Ltd and Sourav Daspatnaik, managing director of Swachh Environment Private Limited.
The inaugural function was followed by plenary sessions where the speakers dwelt at length on the topics ‘Upgradation of water and wastewater infrastructure’ and ‘Leakages in water conveyance lines and storage’.
The inaugural function was followed by Plenary Sessions where speakers dwelt at length on the topics: ‘Upgradation of water and wastewater infrastructure’ and ‘Leakages in water conveyance lines and storage’.

Get real time updates directly on your device, subscribe now.

Comments are closed.