Shillong, March 8: The Meghalaya government has been asked to re-strategise its approach to address indiscriminate disposal of waste to ensure cleanliness in and around Shillong city.
The demand came from MLAs of the Opposition during Question Hour in Assembly today who sought to know about steps taken to ensure cleanliness in the city.
To a question raised by Opposition MLA of the United Democratic Party, Jemino Mawthoh, Urban Affairs Minister, Ronnie V. Lyngdoh said that apart from implementing and enforcing the provision of Solid Waste Management Rules, 2016, additional measures were taken by the department which also include new guidelines notified on December 9 last year for solid waste management and cleanliness in Shillong city, besides holding of 827 public awareness programmes since 2012 to bring about awareness on safe disposal of waste and segregation of waste, distribution of two coloured coded bins to 31,674 households for segregation of waste and to dispose of the waste in collection vehicles to prevent dumping in open spaces.
Ronnie also said that litter bins were placed in important stretches of roads, warning signboards installed at strategic locations with security agency to monitor them, issuing of show cause notices to senior sanitary inspectors and zonal in-charge for not adhering to instructions to prevent indiscriminate dumping, routing plan for collection vehicles has been drawn up with vehicle timings, and circulated to all localities under Shillong municipal board area for disposal of waste in waste collection vehicles.
The minister informed that new plan has been drawn up to also bring areas outside the Shillong municipal board into the solid waste management programme, and public notices prohibiting the practice of littering has been issued regularly where violators were also being penalized.
However Mawthoh wanted to know as to why Shillong city is still filthy and dirty despite the steps taken by the department and sought to know if the government has plans to re-strategise its approach to address indiscriminate disposal of waste.
Ronnie in his reply said that the government alone cannot ensure cleanliness.
“We need cooperation of the people and it is upto the people to also maintain cleanliness. It is not possible for the government to run after polluters. We are ready to re-strategise our approach and open to suggestions from members of the House on how to re-strategise such approaches to address the problem,” the Minister said.
The Minister said that so far, only 20 violators have been caught for littering and fine was imposed between Rs 500 and Rs 5000.
Other Opposition MLA, Ardent Miller Basaiawmoit, and Independent MLA, Saleng A. Sangma also asked the minister to take steps to check indiscriminate littering.
Ronnie also assured to look into the issue raised by Saleng who suggested to the government to change the timing for wastes collection in order not to cause inconveniences to the public and also set up more warning signboards in various towns of the state to prevent indiscriminate throwing of wastes.