The civic authorities have decided to seal the three deep tubewells in operation at Diamond Beverages, Coca-Cola’s authorised bottling plant at Taratala.
An officer of the plant approached the water supply department on Tuesday for renewal of its deep tubewell licence, but the request was turned down by the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC). “We will seal the tubewells,” asserted mayoral council member (water supply) Sovan Chatterjee.
According to Chatterjee, the CMC had been advising Diamond Beverages for several months to take “a bulk connection” of filtered surface water and seal its deep tubewells, as “heavy drawing of sub-soil water for commercial purposes” was posing a serious threat to the subterranean water table.
A Coca-Cola representative said: “We have approached the CMC for renewal of our deep tubewell licence… We are willing to use filtered water but that will take time. If we are refused permission to use the deep tubewells with immediate effect, we could be forced to move court, as production cannot be stopped.”
Chief engineer (water supply) Dibyendu Roychaudhury said: “We have worked out the company’s daily requirement of filtered surface water at a lakh gallons a day and it will have to pay about Rs 16 lakh annually for the supply,” said Roychaudhury.
Since the water line running under Taratala Road belongs to the Garden Reach waterworks of the Central Municipal Water Sanitation Authority, Diamond Beverages had been advised to apply for the bulk filtered water connection, CMC officials said.
“Use of surface water cuts down the possibility of heavy metal contamination,” stated Chatterjee. “The CMC has taken up a scheme to phase out its own deep tubewells and more than 75 of them have been sealed over the past 18 months. Another 30 will be sealed by this fiscal.”