State Development Reforms Commission conducts inspection

Over 3.10 lakh rural households are provided with functional water taps: Marak

Shillong, June 23: The State Development Reforms Commission (SDRC) as part of its concern to the public interest of providing safe, clean and pure drinking water to all localities of Shillong town and its adjacent villages based on numerous complaints, grievances voiced by the members of the public that PHE water received in public taps of the localities and individual households especially in monsoon season is muddy, oily and unsafe for human consumption, conducted a spot verification of the Dam of GSWSS at Mawphlang, treatment plant, water reservoir at Mawphlang and the twin reservoir at 4 miles Upper Shillong on 21.06.2017.

During the course of the inspections and interactions with the officials concerned, technical laboratories personnel, engineers manning the three strategic locations, the following findings unfolded.

The water after being treated at the treatment plant was verified with the laboratory reports on sample conducted and presented to the Commission to be satisfactory for human consumption. However, the water at Mawphlang reservoir was found to be clean on physical inspection by the Commission but the sample of water collected and physically inspected by the Commission from the twin reservoirs at 4 miles was found to be oily. The water from the twin reservoir is then transported to the feeder main that are located in different parts of the Shillong City.

The water received by consumers at the end source is not what the PHE Department claimed to have been providing, the water at the disposal of consumers contains particles of mud and when it is boiled oily layer is detected at the top of any container as a result of which fear psychosis has gripped the perception of every public that water consumed every day might lead to health hazard. The only explanation offered by PHE officials to the change of the condition of water is due to pilferages, leakages and old pipes connected by private individual household from local main feeder storages.

The Co-Chairman, SDRC, Shri Sengman R. Marak, Ex-MLA and Co-Chairman, SDRC, Shri Suraj Prakash Thapa, Shri Vijay Raj, Vice-Chairman, SDRC and Dr. Fenella Lyngdoh Nonglait, Ex-Officio Member, SDRC who conducted the inspection offered the following recommendations to address the chronic issue on contaminated water received by the consumers in and around the Shillong city. The Department should move a proposal to identify land belonging to Forest Department and other Departments to set up the treatment plant at Upper Shillong so that the treatment water can be directly released from there to feeder main storages at every locality.

In the interim laying and replacing of old pipes under GSWSS Phase III should be expedited as it is learnt that the pipes installed since commissioning of the GSWSS First Phase 30 years ago have never been replaced and has outlived their longevities. A minor hydro electricity project should be proposed to be set up below the PHE dam at Mawphlang to be able to self sustain on electricity supply during the monsoon period. The Commission exhorted the Officers in charge of the different strategic points of PHE Department as inspected to be dedicated, responsible, explore avenues, be innovative, updated in technologies to suggest to government ways and means to improve quality of water to ensure healthy conditions of people.

The team also visited the Silviculture division of the Forest & Environment Department at 4 miles Upper Shillong and witnessed the work done by the Department to conserve endangered and endemic plants by restocking wild population with tissue grown seedlings. The Commission suggested to the officials present to submit proposals to the government to expand the activities in larger scale and in larger laboratories and storages.

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