Shillong: Meghalaya has become the first state to have a water policy, said reports on Saturday. (Also read: ‘Amartya Sen Should Stick to His Subject,’ Says Tathagata Roy)

Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said, “Policy intends to achieve sustainable development and the use of water resources with community participation. Issues such as the protection of catchment areas and river pollution have also been outlined in it.”

He said the water policy has been drafted in consultation with experts in water conservation and protection of water bodies. The policy will address issues like water usages, issues of conservation and protection of water sources in the state.

Tynsong said the Cabinet chaired by Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma discussed the draft policy at length before approving it. “All issues related to the utilization of water and livelihood and how to preserve water bodies have been outlined in this policy including community participation in the implementation of this policy by constituting a water sanitation village council at the village level,” he said.

He said that Meghalaya being a hilly state receives a lot of rainfall but the same water cannot be retained and all of the water reaches Bangladesh in no time. Among the other issues discussed on the policy was the need to optimise usage and conservation of water, steps needed to protect water bodies and water sources, including groundwater, and protection of catchment areas.

Recently, the state government also launched the Jal Shakti mission to address the problems related to water.

Only last month, state Governor Tathagata Roy had invited the wrath of women’s group with his comment that Bengali boys worked as sweepers and girls as bar dancers in other states.

Trinamool Congress’ new women outfit Banga Janani Vahini even held a protest here against Roy. In a series of tweets posted on June 4, Roy, a former BJP leader, had argued that Bengalis’ opposition to learning Hindi was political and claimed that many boys in Bengal were “now sweeping floors” in other states, while the Bengali girls are working as “bar dancers” in Mumbai.