Board to protect Ward's lake

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  • Published 16.03.12

Shillong, March.15: More than a century-old tourist spot in Shillong, Ward’s Lake is under threat from pollution.

Congress legislator Pynshngainlang Syiem raised the issue in the form of a call attention motion in the Assembly today.

He said the lake was named after Sir William Ward, the then chief commissioner of Assam after it was constructed in 1893-94.

Syiem said over the years, effluents from nearby hotels had polluted the lake. “If we do not take urgent steps, the lake will meet the same fate as Wahumkhrah (a polluted river in Shillong),” Syiem said.

According to Syiem, wastes from the septic tanks and nearby hotels pollute the Ward's Lake, which is visited by many tourists.

The forest and environment minister Prestone Tynsong admitted that at one point of time, the untreated wastes from nearby hotels, which include Lake View Inn and Shillong Club, had polluted the lake.

He said the Meghalaya State Pollution Control Board (MSPCB) took up the issue of non-compliance of environment rules by the polluters.

A joint inspection team at the behest of MSPCB visited the site in May 2011.

The team had recommended that certain measures were needed to be taken by the Shillong Club residential quarters to control pollution.

The Shillong Club staff quarters are directly under the management of Shillong Club and the Shillong Municipal Board, which mans the parking lot.

The joint inspection team, however, observed that Lake View Inn had already installed a waste water treatment plant and has been discharging effluents through the common conduit.

“The MSPCB has also issued consent to establish a waste water treatment system to H.K. Loungani and Company on January 18 this year,” Tynsong added.

The social forestry division, East Khasi Hills, addressed a letter to MSPCB on January 20 this year and said the untreated effluents continued to be discharged into the lake from Shillong Club.

The officials of the social forestry department took up the matter with MSPCB to emphasise the gravity of the pollution issue.

“Accordingly, the MSPCB has written to the social forestry division requesting them to fix a date for joint inspection, but it is yet to be conducted,” Tynsong said.

On March 1, the forest department reported that dead fishes were found floating in Ward’s Lake.

The forest department attributed the fish mortality to the discharge of untreated effluents, including leakage from the septic tank of the Shillong Club staff quarters under the management of Shillong Club, the minister said. The forest department has also asked MSPCB to initiate action against the polluter according to the provisions of the Water Prevention and Control of Pollution Act, 1974.

According to Tynsong, the representatives of MSPCB inspected the residential portion of the Shillong Club on March 12.

“H.K. Loungani and Company stated the effluent treatment plant has been set up and the pipes have been laid to drain treated waste water from the residential portion of the Shillong Club to the common conduit. The MSPCB assured the applicant to issue consent to operate in the next few days,” Tynsong said.

According to him, Lake View Inn had fully complied with the direction to establish and operate pollution control measures and H.K. Loungani and Company have also partially complied with directions to check pollution.

However, the management of the Shillong Club, in charge of the staff quarters, has not taken any steps to prevent and stop the discharge of effluents into Ward’s Lake.

Tynsong also warned that directions will be issued to stop water supply or electricity to those who manage the staff quarters of the Shillong Club and the Shillong Municipal Board, if they do not take up preventive and curative measures to control pollution within a time period, which will be given to them shortly. Raju Loungani of H.K. Loungani and Company, who is managing the residential portion of the Shillong Club said the pollution was from Shillong Club staff quarters and not from the residential portion.