Sunday, May 19, 2024

Citizens have a right to regular water supply


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I am writing in a very distressed state of mind. For two weeks, Nongrimmaw Block C has not been getting water due to some work at Mawphlang. As consumers we understand that, but what we fail to understand is why the rest of the residents of Block C are not getting water while only two pipes have running water every day for 4 hours a day. The main culprit is not the PHE; it’s the plumber who is responsible for all the skullduggery that goes on with the water supply here. It’s a known fact among everyone in Nongrimmaw that if you want water, you get it from this person. If he is paid a fee he provides water.
On April 18, 2024, this person came at 10 AM, opened the supply, and sat there for 1.5 hours and then turned off the supply. He returned about 15 minutes later and opened up our supply again, but this time water only flowed into the two pipes. This does not surprise anyone, but it creates a lot of anger and frustration amongst us living in Nongrimmaw Block C because we end up having to buy water, and water is not cheap.
Seeing this, a woman went and called the person in charge of water supply but he did not pick up the phone, so she called the Rangbah Dong, and he advised her to call the man responsible for the supply. Another neighbour came in, saw and left to inform the plumber concerned who brought 6 engineers with him. They spoke to the woman who called them, and instead of listening to her, they laughed saying, “It was just for a test round for water because there is no water coming in from Mawphlang.”
To think that even in 2024 we are still having to deal with patriarchy in a state that is matrilineal is insufferable. Just because a woman is speaking up for the rights of the people of the Dong, for all the money we have to spend to buy water, we are being laughed at! How is it that even today we have to fight so hard for our rights to regular water supply? Why is Shillong so far behind in so many things, and now it includes water?
All that the woman wanted to know was why they were checking the water supply for only two pipes? Why did they open and then close the supply and then reopen it for only 2 pipes? And this is not just for a day or two but for over a month now only the two pipes are being supplied water. Those two pipes have water flowing from morning till 9 p.m., and sometimes even up to midnight. Instead of turning off the supply for those two pipes, they just smiled and said, “Kong, we will come back soon; for now, we have to finish some work.”
Why do we have to fight for our right to water? We already have other things to struggle for.
What angers me is that the men laughed at the genuine complaints of the woman and said she didn’t know what she was talking about. Well, whatever it is we have a right to regular water supply and it is the duty of the PHE to ensure we get that water. Why play with people’s lives? And why allow plumbers to make money on the sly? What a disgusting state of affairs!
Yours etc,.
Shailin H Lyngdoh,

We need to stand up against corruption!

Albert Thyrnniang’s write-ups have always been insightful and thought provoking. In his most recent article (ST April 18, 2024), Thyrniang brought out glaring revelations that have been normalised and are therefore not spoken of in the open. One important insight in his article is about the need to bribe in order to get a job. This is a phenomenon that is common these days. It informs us that nothing works without money changing hands. The situation is alarming because life will continue with the next generation too. Our children who are our future generation will carry on the beacon of light and hope that they receive from us. The question is what light are we using to help them see the road ahead? As of now it certainly is light filled with filth and profanity. There are all forms of vices prevalent in our society and corruption is one of them. Corruption rules every aspect of life and we are either dumb spectators or participants. One way or the other we are party to this malicious act. If this vice remains unchecked and uncontrolled and is allowed to take root, life will be debilitating for all, especially our children. There are reasons galore for corruption. Greed tops the chart followed by low wages and lack of opportunities; absence of severe punishment; complete lack of ethics, to name a few.
The primary reason for corruption is because conscience no longer plays a role in our lives. Humans are supposed to be guided by that still, small voice of conscience to help them judge between right and wrong. This voice within us cannot be extinguished. It has to be kept alive and nurtured from childhood. It is part of our value system.
However, we need to fight corruption not by conscience alone but by strengthening the law and ensuring that the corrupt are punished according to the law of the land. We need a transparent governance across all departments and we need a vibrant civil society that will call out the blatant corruption prevailing in Meghalaya today.
Yours etc.,
Jenniefer Dkhar,
Via email


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