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Charges fly over choked drains

The Left Front civic engineers on Thursday pinned the blame for the regular waterlogging in the city of late on the Trinamul Congress board at the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC). According to the engineers, lack of maintenance of the city’s drains will aggravate the situation in the days ahead.

Mayor-in-council (drainage and sewerage) member Rajib Deb had all along blamed the state irrigation department for the poor drainage system, a fact that Citu leader Amalendu Bhattacharya, also an engineer, terms as “bogus”. Deb claimed: “The outflow channels had been desilted in winter. So, this cannot be the reason for waterlogging.”

Bhattacharya rubbished Deb’s logic and said the Trinamul had failed to carry out the drainage operations because of leftover silt in the drains and sewer arteries. He added that incomplete garbage-clearing from roads and growing siltation in drains are the main reasons for the emergence of new pockets of waterlogging in the city.

The Citu leadership pointed out that this year, from January to June, 37,346 tonnes of silt were scooped out from the sewer and drainage lines. “Around 5,000 trucks were required to transport them to the Dhapa dumping ground,” sources said.

Claiming that the rate of desilting was double during the Left Front regime in the CMC, Bhattacharya pointed out that between January and June 2000, the amount of silt excavated was 63,580 tonnes and the number of trucks used to carry them to Dhapa was 7,623.

According to him, during the same time-slot in 2000, while the Left Front had removed 4.122 lakh tonnes of garbage from the city roads, the Trinamul board in 2002 could remove only 2.66 lakh tonnes. “It means there had been more leftovers in the city vats, that are now clogging the manholes and the gully-pits,” Bhattacharya added.

Deb said the Rs 60-crore scheme announced by the state government in September 1997 never saw the light of day. The scheme included revamping the city’s drainage and sewerage network, augmenting the Palmerbazar pumping station, repair of the brick sewers and desilting sewer lines. According to him, at least 50 km of the city’s 200-km-long brick sewer-lines are broken. “Calcuttans better watch out, since the situation in the next few years could take a turn for the worse,” warned Deb. “The city will again experience waterlogging if it rains for just more than an hour,” he added.

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