GOPAL MUKHERJEE, mayor of Howrah, met readers of The Telegraph in his Howrah Municipal Corporation (HMC) office last week. Participants included Ram Avatar Mundra, Nemai Charan Datta, Santimoy Mukherjee, Samir Chakraborty, Rabi Roy, Deep Chatterjee and Sailen Sen
Rabi Roy: Wards 44 to 50 were included in the Howrah Municipal Corporation in 1984 but surprisingly, the houses still have no postal numbering.
You have pointed out a genuine problem. I must talk to the postal authorities to sort this out.
Rabi Roy: For the past five months, municipal workers have not been spraying mosquito oil in ward 23.
We have a stock of oil but it can’t be sprayed regularly because of a shortage of staff.
Samir Chakraborty: Residents of Howrah are supposed to get drinking water from the Padmapukur reservoir but in summer, the taps run dry.
That is not fully correct. More than 80 per cent of the town’s residents are supplied with drinking water from the Padmapukur reservoir. Sometimes, supply may be disrupted because of a drop in pressure.
Samir Chakraborty: We hear you have plans for another reservoir. When will work start'
We are trying our best to start work as soon as possible.
Samir Chakraborty: Demolition of an old reservoir in Nepal Saha Lane was planned in 1996. Work on it started in 2000-01 but was never completed. Why'
We advertised about demolition of the reservoir and accordingly, interested parties came forward. They left as the resale value of the decrepit reservoir was not up to expectations.
Sailen Sen: Illegal constructions are the bane of the town. Moreover, those who buy flats from unscrupulous promoters have to face problems. Is there any way to check this'
I have repeatedly asked buyers to check out details from the municipality before purchasing a flat. The sad part is that most buyers don’t and are cheated by unscrupulous promoters. However, we are taking action against such realtors.
Sailen Sen: In Howrah, the drainage system needs to be developed. Most of the drains are open. Isn’t that a health risk'
Howrah’s underground sewerage system is not functioning well. You have rightly pointed out that the drains should be covered. I shall have to check on the availability of funds.
Sailen Sen: Calcutta has a number of highrises, 10 to 20 storeys high, that accommodate many families and thereby help solve the housing problem. There aren’t very many highrises in Howrah. Why'
Actually, to build a highrise, adequate roadspace is required around the site. In Howrah, most roads are very narrow. So, we don’t really have the scope to build highrises.
Deep Chatterjee: The hydrant on East–West Road has not been cleared for quite a while now.
We need to clear that hydrant right away. It is not only a necessity but also a legitimate demand of the tax-payers. Stagnant water can spark an outbreak of an epidemic.
Deep Chatterjee: There is a defunct booster station on East-West Road for water supply. Residents of central Howrah will benefit if it is restored.
We are trying our best to restore the booster station at the earliest.
Deep Chatterjee: The Calcutta Municipal Corporation has an elaborate map of its slum areas. No such map has been drawn up by Howrah Municipality. It does prove very useful for overall development.
Every city needs a map of its own, giving all the information. You have rightly pointed out that Howrah should have a map of its slums. I shall take up the matter with the officers concerned so that work can start without delay.