The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Clean-canal drive ahead of monsoon

The irrigation department is working hard to keep Calcutta free from waterlogging in monsoon 2003. For this purpose, the department is carrying out excavation drives in three major canals which carry the city’s wastes into the Bay of Bengal.

Minister of state for irrigation Ganesh Chandra Mandal said a loan of Rs 144 crore had been taken from Hudco for the dredging. “Of this, Rs 18 crore will go into cleaning up the three canals. The one between Palmerbazar and Topsia and another flowing between Ballygunge and Topsia are being excavated now,” Mandal said. The clean-up drive was underway at the Beleghata and Bagjola canals, too. Two other canals, between Bantala and Ghuslighata and Bhojerhat and Ghuslighata, were also being excavated, the minister said.

A tripartite meeting was held on Thursday at Writers’ Buildings, which was attended by officials of the irrigation, fisheries and land and land reforms departments, to sort out problems faced by the irrigation department in carrying out the canal clean-up. Mandal said fishermen running cooperative bheris in South and North 24-Parganas had opposed the drive. “Most of them use the dirty water carried by the canals for pisciculture. The problem has been sorted out and we have decided to run the Chowbhaga pumping station round the clock from Monday to maintain supply of water to the bheris,” Mandal concluded.

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