The Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) has urged the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for financial assistance to clean up 27 waterbodies, including six swimming pools, in the city and on its periphery.
The target list includes the swimming pools at College Square, Azad Hind Bag, Deshbandhu Park and Haji Mohammad Mohsin Square.
During the annual budget session of the CMC, mayor Subrata Mukherjee, who is currently abroad, said the civic body had approached the ADB for funds to clean up 12 waterbodies in the city and its adjoining areas.
“Later, we decided to include 15 more ponds in the city,” said H.N. Gupta, member, mayor-in-council, parks and gardens, on Monday. A large pond on a 19-bigha plot in Parsibagan, in north Calcutta, is likely to be renovated with ADB funds, too, Gupta added.
Apart from these, the CMC has earmarked pools in Lansdowne Road’s Puddapukur and Kidderpore’s Padmapukur, two large waterbodies in Hastings and Albert Road and one in Jodhpur Park for the ADB-assisted clean-up operation, Gupta said.
U.P. Sen, joint director of the CMC’s projects management unit (PMU), said on Monday the civic body will conduct a detailed survey of these waterbodies and refer it to the mayor for his approval. “After getting the mayor’s nod, we will prepare a project report and refer it to the ADB for its approval on our request for a grant,” Sen added.
It is learnt that the PMU is working hard to complete the survey before the onset of the monsoon. “But it may not be possible to achieve the target, because monsoon is not too far away and it is difficult for us to carry out surveys in all the waterbodies simultaneously, as we don’t have enough manpower,” Gupta said.
The CMC plans to construct short walls along the banks of the waterbodies to prevent sewer water from flowing into them. Gupta said water would be pumped out of the ponds before starting construction work. “We will also cement the beds of the ponds before filling them up with fresh water,” he added.
For the swimming pools, additional arrangements will be made to pump out the water once a week. Ponds that are no longer used as swimming pools will have small gardens skirting them. During winter, the water will be changed frequently to keep them free of mosquitoes.
“Earlier, the CMDA had renovated the Manohar Das Tarag, in the Esplanade area. It had cemented only two sides of the pond and left the other two banks untouched. Besides, they did not construct a wall around the waterbody and, as a result, dirty water flows into the Tarag during monsoon. This has taught us a lesson and we have decided to fence all the ponds to prevent pollution,” said a senior CMC official.