Conrad K. Sangma chairs the state cabinet meeting where the State Water Policy was approved. Image credit - Twitter @SangmaConrad

Meghalaya became the first state in India to have a water policy following a nod given by the state cabinet on Friday.

The draft state water policy aims at addressing issues concerning water crisis and how judiciously use and protect rivers and other water bodies in the state.

The draft policy was approved by the state cabinet in a meeting chaired by Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K. Sangma after a detailed presentation and long discussion by the council of ministers and officers.

Speaking to reporters, deputy chief minister Prestone Tynsong said after having approved by the cabinet, Meghalaya is now the first state in India to have its water policy.

He informed that the draft policy was prepared by officers of the state water resources department along with experts who held a series of consultations before bringing the matter to the cabinet for discussion and approval.

“All issues related to utilization of water and livelihood and how to preserve various water bodies have been outlined in this policy,” he said.

Tynsong also informed that the policy talked about implementation of the policy through active participation of the community by constituting a water sanitation village council at the village level.

When asked steps to the policy could address acute shortage of water in Meghalaya despite receiving huge amount of rainfall, Tynsong said, “though we received heavy rain especially during summer, but since Meghalaya is a hill state, all our water reaches Bangladesh within one hour. We therefore need to properly use and conserve water, and take steps to preserve our water bodies and water sources including ground water.”

He said that the policy also focused on the problem related to water pollution and protection catchment and spring shed areas and the need to build check dams and water reservoirs on rivers and streams and how to make each check dam useful for the people with multipurpose activities.

Meanwhile the proposal of the state finance department to increase the salary of chairman and members of the Meghalaya Public Service Commission based on the recommendations of the fifth Meghalaya Pay Commission was also approved by the state cabinet.

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