The rains returned to Sohra, also known as Cherrapunjee, last year to prevent it from losing its world’s wettest place tag following a ‘dry’ spell. But that didn’t cure the place of its paradoxical ailment – water scarcity.
Inevitably, ecology takes centre-stage during elections at Sohra, as does the water scarcity issue made critical over the years by mining-induced rocky barrenness, deforestation and topsoil erosion. Phlour W Khongjee of the Congress, keen on retaining his seat, has based his campaign on restoring Sohra’s greenery and water harvesting.
Because of the topography and reducing water table, all the rainwater that Sohra receives flows down to Bangladesh.
But Richard D Shabong, the CPI’s lone candidate in Meghalaya contesting from Sohra, has instead attempted to educate targeted voters on how to grow plants and trees on rocks after adding topsoil.
“I don’t know whether my slogan of growing trees on rock to make villages green again and solve the problem of drinking water shortage will translate into votes. But I will continue pursuing the idea whatever the outcome,” Shabong said.