The Centre on Tuesday approved a proposal to set up the International Centre for Drinking Water Quality in Joka.
The aim of the project, estimated to cost over Rs 176 crore, will be to identify, mitigate and manage drinking water problems, with focus on research and development, and arsenic and fluoride contamination.
The centre will also provide policy advice on request to the central and state governments and other countries on water quality, states a release issued after a Union cabinet meeting.
“This will be a one-of-a-kind-institute, a collaborative initiative of the central and state governments, along with international organisations. The Centre has already given Rs 50 crore for the project and we have procured a nine-acre plot near Joka for the institute. We will start work as soon as we receive the rest of the funds and hope to complete the work by 2014,” said Subrata Mukherjee, the state public health engineering minister. His is the nodal department for the execution of the project.
The 8.72-acre plot earmarked for the project is off Diamond Harbour Road.
The Centre has formed a high-powered committee to outline the structure of the proposed institute.
Water expert and state arsenic task force chairman K.J. Nath, who is also a member of the committee, said the panel had already met “three or four times”.
According to the release issued after the cabinet meeting, the drinking water centre will be registered as a society under the Societies Registration Act, 1860, and will cater to the entire country. “All states/districts in the country will be covered as bacteriological contamination is more or less evenly spread and focus will also be made on drinking water quality...” the release says.
The funds for the project will come from the ministry of drinking water and sanitation under the National Rural Drinking Water Programme.