Ankan De discovers murder of a river in the heart of Shillong
I promised to follow up my earlier post and here is my attempt.
A few weeks ago, on the 20th of February I had posted about a river and an attempt to build a parking lot in the river itself.
I happened to pass by the same site and it seems work has not stopped at all. On the other hand large amounts of the river bed have been excavated.
Limestone and other construction materials have been dumped into the bed and now re-bars are in the process of being planted into the river bed.
Almost 70% of the original river channel cross section has been encroached upon. This has some greater consequences:
1. We may expect flash floods downstream in the peak season- endangering
2.The life of the infrastructure will be reduced given greater exposure to water.
3. Trash from the stream will accumulate at the bottle neck
4. The structure will witness scour given its location in the bend – hydrologic regime will be permanently affected
5. There was an earlier NGT ruling making this illegal
6. Huge amounts of construction material have been dumped into the river.
In short such unplanned activities endangers the lives of people and highlights the need for greater environmental awareness.
There is a great need to develop, but we need to do so responsibly. This highlights the larger problem where people are not aware enough. First we convert our rivers to sewage conduits,
then we start calling it a drain, and then instead of trying to clean it we get rid of it? Is this the best use of tax payers money!? ? These are questions we need to ask ourselves.
Its likely that this river might have flown for thousands of years and now all of a sudden it is past its importance that we need to replace it with a parking lot?
We really need to re-visit our value systems and educate ourselves. Our actions today impact the future generations and this is not the example they deserve!
This should be a clarion call and an awakening for citizens of Shillong. We are a democracy. The voice of the people determines the kind of development we do.
Speak to the legislators
so that such environmental catastrophes may be averted. Speak to the communities so that we take time to develop the sensitivity which we seem to have lost (after thousands of years)
It is certain that concrete will be poured into the river very soon. Can we avert this irriversible illegal wrong doing? That remains to be seen. Will civil society wake up?
As someone who cares about nature and rivers, such developments are extremely saddening and disheartening.
I hope there is a movement to spread the awareness that is the need of the hour.
-A humble river enthusiast
P. S. Don’t forget to share this.