Shillong, March 31: The World Water Day was observed just a few days ago. The day marks the sustainable and balanced use of water so as to make water available to all. But a stark contrast presents a different picture of water scarcity. Shillong has always had the privilege of being a place with an ample rainfall, serene location and a good climate. But these aspects of the City which gives it an outwardly charm fails to magnify its inner drawbacks in terms of civic amenities.
There is still a wide gap between the urban well-to-do few and the emaciated masses devoid of basic amenities like water. Many places in Shillong lack basic and the most essential amenities for the masses, and then there is an urge to act globally.
Many localities and blocks have been under severe water problems, inspite of lot of things being promised during the Elections. People are living in terribly unhygienic and poor water shortage conditions.
9-10 years old year children have to walk miles to take water. Areas such as Lower Nongrim Hills, Gora Line, Nongmynsong face serious water crises. These crises have made people come all the way to Umpling stream to wash clothes and take drinking water all the way from the springs. Even if these issues are addressed, no action is taken by the localities concerned in this regard. They give the public vague answers and excuses. In localities like Lower Nongrim Hills people filter the shallow water from the wells and drink it.
One Anita Nongdhar says, “we have to go early morning to the stream to wash clothes and have to depend on other sources to drink water”.
Chandra Kanta, a housewife, says, “I buy water every month for day to day use, if only there were enough avenues to supply water than these problems must have not arisen”.
Similarly Sukdev Thaukuri and Siddharth Chettri of Nongmynsong say, “For 2-3 buckets of water which comes in the evening from 4 PM, there is a huge queue which sometimes results in brawls. Buckets and tins are lined up from 2 PM on the road so as to get water first”.
One Anamika Choudhury of Laban adds “water scarcity is in the main problem of some areas of upper Laban, and people purchase water from nearby streams”.
Even if taps or hand pumps are there at these areas, they are just a showpiece. They either do not work or are broken. Sadly, the sorry state of things does not demand any attention from the so called torch bearers of the society. The higher authorities fail to do anything. And if people approach, they are either rebuked or asked to approach or seek help from other people for the same.
This has put a serious question on the fate of the less privileged and their rights to safe drinking water.