A sense of confusion prevails both within the government departments and also among the public over the Gravity Water Supply Project for Tuensang district. While it was learnt that the Public Health & Engineering Department (PHED) was in favour of going ahead with the use of Galvanized Iron (GI) pipes instead of Ductile Iron (DI) pipes for the implementation of the water supply project, the move itself seems contrary to the directives of the Department of Planning & Coordination, Government of Nagaland, which had earlier directed that only DI pipes should be used taking into consideration its superiority and durability.
More than anything else the present predicament over the implementation of the project clearly stems from the lack of proper communication on the part of all concerned parties both government and non-governmental. This has added only to the misunderstanding and has completely polarized public opinion in the region on what is essentially a public welfare project. The entire issue could have been dealt with by the government in a more transparent manner after consultation with the various stakeholders particularly the public organizations of Tuensang district.
Interestingly, the frontline organizations of Tuensang such as the Chang Khulei Setshang (CKS), Tuensang Mon Students Federation (TMSF) and the Confederation of Chang Students Union (CCSU) had all along been opposed to the government’s plan to use GI pipes and had been demanding for DI pipes as originally envisaged in the notification issued by the Centre. Being now convinced on the viability of GI pipes, they have the added responsibility to now find an amicable solution with the likes of the All Tuensang Town Non Governmental Organization Union (ATTNGOU) and the Tuensang District Mothers Association who are vehemently opposed to the PHED plan of using GI pipes.
Simultaneously, the PHED department should also take the initiative in convening a meeting first of those who are opposed to their plan and giving a detailed presentation on the viability of both GI and DI pipes in an objective manner and later a second meeting can be convened of all the civil society groups and NGOs of Tuensang. The purpose of such an exercise should be to find a meeting ground after minutely studying on the pros and cons of both the GI and DI pipes.
At the end of the day it is the concern of all the stakeholders to make sure that the implementation of the water supply project does not get stalled. Both the contending parties to this present impasse should also be on guard against vested interest elements on both sides who may be lobbying for procurement of GI or DI pipes for no other reasons but merely to cash in on a big time deal. At the end, which pipe to use should be a matter of objective assessment and both the government and the people of Tuensang should work within this framework.