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Meghalaya govt-supplied water not potable

By The Assam Tribune

SHILLONG, Jan 15 (IANS): Drinking water supplied by the Meghalaya government's Public Health Engineering (PHE) department to people in the state capital is unfit for human consumption, a test report revealed on Thursday.

The test report prepared by the government-run Pasteur Institute and Medical Research Institute found that water samples collected by members of Khun Hynniewtrep National Awakening Movement (KHNAM) youth wing, from the clear water storage of the Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme (GSWSS) in Upper Shillong had a pH value of 5.7, which is below the prescribed limit.

KHNAM, a regional political party, took the initiative to collect water samples from the reservoir in a sterilised bottle after people received muddy water supplied by the PHE.

"The test report revealed that the drinking water has a pH value of 5.7, which is below the prescribed limit, for it is acidic and unfit for human consumption. The pH value of water fit for consumption should be between 6.5 and 8," KHNAM youth wing president Thomas Passah told journalists.

"They (PHE) have committed a serious crime of supplying such unfit drinking water to the people, and this is one of the factors which made people suffer from various ailments, such as gastroenteritis, skin, hair problems, and other water borne diseases," he said.

Quoting a report received under the Right to Information (RTI) Act, Passah expressed surprise that the PHE does not have a chemist and microbiologist, who are responsible for analysing the quality of drinking water before supplying.

He said the "non-existence" of a chemist and microbiologist proves that "huge corruption" was taking place in the department.

Criticising the Congress-led government for supplying unhygienic drinking water, Passah said the government should stop trying to convert Shillong into a 'smart city' and first ensure that people remain healthy.

The government is targeting to provide 135 litres water per day per capita to the 3,54,325 population of Shillong.

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