|Salt Lake residents queue up for water at a pumping station. A Telegraph picture
Water crisis in Salt Lake may aggravate as the Calcutta Municipal Corporation has threatened to cut off supply to the township if its dues are not cleared immediately.
“Salt Lake municipality owes us Rs 75 lakh as water tax. We have written to the civic authorities asking them to pay the dues at the earliest, or else we will take strict action,” said Mrinal Kanti Mondol, the CMC’s mayoral council member in charge of water supply.
CMC sources said “strict action” meant suspension of supply.
Officials in Salt Lake municipality said the dues would be cleared but alleged that the CMC’s supply had been erratic while large parts of the township faced water crisis.
“We have discussed the matter with officials of the state government and the CMC and decided to pay a part of the dues right away and the rest in instalments,” said Tapan Talukdar, the member of the chairman-in-council (water) in Salt Lake municipality.
“The demand for filtered water has increased manifold but the supply from the CMC has been irregular, adding to the shortage,” Talukdar added.
Salt Lake needs around 9 million gallon of water daily, of which it gets 6.5 million gallon from the CMC.
The Calcutta civic body has been supplying drinking water to Salt Lake and South Dum Dum municipalities on the basis of an agreement it had reached with the state government following the augmentation of Garden Reach water works in the early 1990s.
The supply was free till 2006 when the CMC demanded an annual payment from the two civic bodies.
“It was decided that the CMC would supply 13 million gallon filtered water daily to the two municipalities. Salt Lake municipality would get 6.5 million gallon and have to pay Rs 50 lakh a year. But we have not received any payment over the past one-and-a-half years,” said a senior official in the CMC water supply department.
The leader of the Opposition in the township’s civic body, Debasis Jana, blamed the CPM-led board for the crisis.
“The board has failed to meet the requirements of the residents. It can neither enhance its own capacity nor pay outside agencies on time. Many people in the township are forced to buy water,” said Jana.
Prabhas Kumar Chowdhury, the director of Purbachal Cluster XI Co-operative Society, said: “We are forced to buy water from private sources. Repeated pleas to the municipality has fallen on deaf ears.”