The river Umkhrah is slowly changing its face.
From highly polluted, the river is now moving slowly to a clean face as it was many decades ago.
This came through the initiatives of the Meghalaya Basin Development Authority and Shillong Municipal Board.
Many years ago, people of Shillong witnessed the flow of crystal clear water in river Umkhrah and residents of different localities in Shillong used to take bath and wash clothes in this river.
Over the years due to the growth of urbanisation, the river has become a drain and the water was highly polluted.
Wastes, be it plastics and other pollutants, were dumped into this river.
The same is the problem with river Umshyrpri.
However, the face of river Umkhrah has suddenly changed in the past few years after workers of the Shillong Municipal Board went down and removed all the pollutants right from Demseiñïong to Polo area.
This new look of river Umkhrah has also added beauty to the Polo Ground, the venue of the first edition of the North East Food Show.
The food show is being organised by the Meghalaya government in collaboration with Salon International de’Agroalimentaire (SIAL) Group, one of the world’s largest food innovation networks with over 50 years of global food innovation experience.
Meghalaya urban affairs minister Hamletson Dohling said cleaning the stretch of river started from Demseiñïong to Polo.
“This is the beginning and it is an opportunity for all of us to maintain cleanliness, and apply our civic sense by not polluting the river,” Dohling said.
He said the fund (around Rs 16 lakh) for cleaning the river was provided through the Meghalaya Basin Development Authority.
Waste traps were also installed along the stretch of the river so that plastic wastes cannot flow indiscriminately.
Asked if cleaning of river Umshyrpi would also be taken up, Dohling said the government wants to do it if fund is available.
The urban affairs minister, however, urged the people not to wait for the government to clean, but take the responsibility not to dump wastes into both Umkhrah and Umshyrpi rivers in the city.
“We want both these rivers to get back the its past glory. Should we not wake up now and once again give life to these rivers?” Dohling asked.
He also urged residents staying on the bank of the rivers to take care of the rivers by not releasing waste water directly.
Whether the government would find a way to help the residents to treat waste water before releasing into the rivers, Dohling said the government would examine this issue.