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American tech in local taps
- US agency expertise to upgrade drinking-water supply system

The state government has initiated a move to modernise the water-treatment plants and improve the underground water supply system. To supply better-quality drinking water to Calcuttans, the government has joined hands with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). According to officials of the urban development department, the agency will also provide technical and other assistance in improving solid waste management.

Urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya finalised the project after a discussion with US consul-general George N. Sibley at Writers’ Buildings recently. Officials from the US agency and CMDA were present.

A team of experts from the Institute for Public Private Partnership, a US consultancy agency specialising in drinking water and public health, appointed by the USAID, will arrive in the city on March 10 and conduct a survey on the condition of the water-treatment plants and devise methods to modernise it. During the four-day visit, the team will hold meetings with CMDA and Calcutta Municipal Corporation officials on the prospects and problems of the existing system. A workshop will also be held at Unnayan Bhavan on March 12.

“Our move is aimed at improving the quality of drinking water in the city. For that, it is essential to upgrade the treatment plants and improve the underground pipeline network. When USAID expressed its willingness to be involved in the project, we readily agreed, given its experience and expertise in this field,’’ Bhattacharya said.

The minister added that they were trying to follow the model of New Mumbai, where the local authorities have introduced an effective system of supplying quality drinking water. “We are in touch with the authorities there and will take their assistance in implementing our project,’’ Bhattacharya said.

Four treatment plants located at Palta, Garden Reach, Baranagar and Kamarhati supply drinking water to the city. “If we introduce the latest technology in the treatment plants, both the quantity and quality of water can be enhanced. Besides, the underground pipeline will also be relaid in some areas,’’ the minister added.

Arup Mitra, spokesman for USAID, said the agency would provide the technical knowhow to modernise the plants, procure equipment and accessories, and maintain quality water supply. It will not provide any financial assistance to the local bodies.

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