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Umiam pollution: Govt, KHADC seek time

Shillong, Aug 20: The State government and Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) today sought more time to file their replies on the suo motu Public Interest Litigation (PIL) registered by the Meghalaya High Court regarding steps to clean up Umiam Lake.
During hearing in the division bench of the court today, Advocate General Amit Kumar who appeared for the State government and V G K Kynta who appeared for the KHADC sought for time to file their respective affidavit on the matter.
The High Court also directed that copy of the report filed by the Amicus Curiae N Mozika be supplied to Kumar and Kynta. The matter will come up for hearing on September 12.
It may be recalled that on July 25, the Meghalaya High Court has registered a suo motu PIL on the matter while also expressing concern over huge pollution of Umiam Lake.
The court also cited several reports in newspapers and online portals about pollution of the lake.
“The cleanliness of Umiam Lake is potentially affecting the tourism and also is health hazardous to the inhabitants of the State of Meghalaya,” the division bench of the High Court had said.
The court had also issued notice to the State government represented by the Chief Secretary and KHADC represented by the Secretary.
Senior lawyers S P Mahanta and N Mozika have been appointed as Amicus Curiae to assist the court in this matter.
Recently, the Assembly committee on environment during a visit to the Umiam Lake found that the life span of the lake has been reduced by 41 years that is from 100 to 59 years.
The committee said that the adverse impact on the life of the Umiam Lake was the result of a huge deposit of garbage and silt.
During the inspection, the Assembly committee found that all types of waste including plastic waste carried by the highly polluted Umkhrah and Umshyrpi rivers accumulated in the lake.
Officials of Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited (MeECL) informed the Assembly committee members that the Umiam dam has a designed life span of 100 years but now the life span has reduced till 2024 due to increasing pollution in the lake.
The MeECL officials cited the studies related to assessment of siltation of the Umiam dam conducted in 1990 by Water and Power Consultancy Services (Wapcos) and by Tojo Vikas International Private Limited, New Delhi in 2004.
It may be mentioned that Chief Minister Conrad Sangma had on July 11 held a meeting with officials of different line departments to discuss and chalk out ways and measures to ensure cleanliness of the Umiam Lake.
Sangma suggested that a committee be formed comprising members from the Forest Department, Water Resources Department, Shillong Municipal Board, Meghalaya Energy Corporation Limited, Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council and East Khasi Hills district administration to work out mechanisms to clean the lake.