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Digha move to plug sewage flow into sea

Midnapore, Aug. 6: Seven years and Rs 3 crore later, the authorities have found that the sewage treatment system put in place here to prevent marine pollution is ineffective. The Digha Development Authority (DDA) has now sought a new plan to prevent sewage from the bustling tourist resort flowing into the sea.

At a review meeting in the DDA office this week, urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya was reportedly dissatisfied with the work done by the public health engineering (PHE) department.

“It was back in 1996 that the PHE had undertaken a project to collect all the waste water discharged by the hotels in Digha and treat it before discharging into the sea. The department has spent Rs 3.38 crore, but now they are saying more funds are required to make the system foolproof,” said DDA chairman Anandadeb Mukherjee.

“We will have to take the help of architects who specialise in the coastal zone so that an integrated management plan can be evolved, especially as the DDA is soon going to have (to look after) more areas when it is re-named the Digha-Shankarpur Development Authority,” added Mukherjee, an oceanographer and vice-chancellor of Vidyasagar University.

The DDA chief has asked the PHE to submit a revised plan within a fortnight. “We are now thinking in terms of liquid waste management, practised in Mumbai, in which specific designs have to be made so that there is no harm to marine life once the water is discharged into the sea,” Mukherjee said. He pointed at the failure of the ongoing scheme saying that at least some result should have been there after seven years.

The present sewage management system has done little for the seaside resort. “The sewage pits are overflowing and dirtying the sand dunes, which are losing their natural character and beauty, and leading to excessive erosion in old Digha,” said a DDA official.

But Digha Hoteliers’ Association co-president Bibhas Paul alleged the system was failing as the municipal authorities were not operating the pumps that run the treatment plant to save on power bills.

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