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Conserve water sources at any cost: Ronnie to govt

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By Our Reporter

SHILLONG, May 8: The leader of the Opposition, Ronnie V Lyngdoh said the state government should take all possible measures to protect the catchment areas even if they are privately owned or fall under the Raids or Himas.
He told The Shillong Times on Wednesday that the government should issue a stringent directive to restrict any activities that threaten the catchment areas and the water bodies.
“Whether these catchment areas are with landowners, Raids, or Himas, they should be preserved at any cost by preventing new settlements or any unwanted activities,” Lyngdoh said.
Recalling that he often drew the attention of the Assembly to the threat faced by the Umiew River basin in Mylliem, he said the government will have to protect the Umiew basin as it is the main catchment area that feeds the Mawphlang dam.
“If we fail to protect and preserve this source, all of Shillong will face the problem of water scarcity. We need to act now before it is too late,” he said.
Lyngdoh reminded Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma of his announcement in the Assembly that Rs 344 crore has been sanctioned for protecting the catchment areas of the Umiew River in East Khasi Hills and the Ganol River in the Garo Hills.
He said the government should involve the Dorbar Shnongs and the community in its efforts to preserve the water bodies and catchment areas. “The stakeholders will be ready to support the government if it provides some incentives,” he added.
Lyngdoh said the system where different government departments work in isolation will not serve any purpose.
“The Water Resources, Soil and Water Conservation, Public Health Engineering, and Forest and Environment departments should work together on how to protect the catchment areas and water bodies,” he said.
He said the departments can identify the catchment areas and water bodies under serious threat and pool their resources to implement the best methods and practices to revive or rejuvenate them.

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