Drinking water is scarce in Behala but nobody, not even mayor Subrata Mukherjee, can foretell when the situation will improve.
Tap-water services were introduced in Behala in 1984-85, and at that time, the pressure was sufficient to fill a first-floor reservoir without a pump.
The population has since burgeoned but the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) has not found time in 10 years to complete any project to augment supply. As a result, residents of Sil Para, Dakshin Behala Road, Chatterjee Para, Banamali Naskar Road and adjacent areas have had to go without drinking water.
Chairman of Borough 13 and local Trinamul Congress councillor Anjan Das has expressed unhappiness over the delay in implementing the booster projects. “The CMC has sanctioned the funds and in some cases, the work order has been issued, but work has not started,” Das said. Chairman of Borough 14 Susanta Ghosh echoed the sentiments.
Mayor Mukherjee, on a recent tour, assured residents: “Efforts are on to ease the situation. Let us hope for better days ahead. One reason for the delay in implementing the projects is an acute shortage of funds,” he added.
Apart from the CMC, the Calcutta Metropolitan Water and Sanitation Authority (CMWSA) has taken up projects to boost water supply in Behala. Again, work on laying pipes from the Garden Reach waterworks has remained suspended for more than a year, primarily because of problems between the civic body and the CMWSA. The CMC’s objection is that while laying the waterpipes, the CMWSA could damage the sewer lines that the civic authorities maintain.
The CPM and Trinamul are caught in a blame game over the delayed line-laying work on Banamali Naskar Road. The area is under the jurisdiction of mayoral council member in charge of water Sovan Chatterjee.
Work came to a halt last August after the pipes entered Banamali Naskar Road from Upen Banerjee Road, where they crossed the 600-metre drainage line. Trinamul leaders said the CPM raised an “unnecessary” hue and cry over possible damage to the sewerage pipes.
However, Nirmal Mukherjee, local CPM councillor and leader of the Opposition in the CMC, said: “People were protesting the unplanned digging of roads by the CMWSA. We never demanded that the project be halted. Why should we oppose good work'” he asked.