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Plan to end water woes

Siliguri, July 23: The officials of Siliguri Municipal Corporation today said water supply would be restored in four wards in the town, which had not been getting any water since Saturday, in the next 48 hours.

Water supply in Wards 38, 39, 40, and 42 stopped on Saturday after a pump installed at the PHE pump house in Pareshnagar here last month had stopped working. Ward 41 of the town has been getting water partially.

“The new pump installed at the PHE pump house has stopped working. This led to a water crisis in some of the wards, which get water from the pump house. PHE officials had communicated with an Ahmedabad-based company which had installed the pump. Their engineers and technicians have arrived here today and are repairing the pump,” said S.W. Bhutia, the SMC commissioner.

“We are confident that water supply in these wards will resume by another 48 hours,” he said.

More than 35,000 people from the four wards have been inconvenienced after the pump stopped working.

“Even today, there was no drinking water supply. We are buying packaged water for drinking and cooking. For other purposes, we have to depend on wells or have to visit the neighbouring wards in the morning and evening to collect water,” said Aparna Dutta, a resident of Haiderpara.

Debshankar Saha, the local councillor, sounded equally worried. “It is disappointing to know that the civic authorities have nothing to do on their own, except banking on the PHE authorities. The officials of PHE also, took no step to repair the dysfunctional pump machine on their own but waited for technicians of the company who arrived almost a week after the water supply had stopped,” Saha said.

“We will wait for a couple of days more. If the water supply is not resumed, we will demonstrate at SMC. Also, we will meet the commissioner soon and would urge him to see that alternative arrangements are being made to tackle such emergencies,” he added.

There was a similar water crisis in the town last month. Residents living in around nine wards of the town had to spend over a fortnight without water supply after both the pumps at the Pareshnagar pump house stopped functioning.

Gautam Deb, the north Bengal development department minister had sanctioned funds for buying a new pump to end the water crisis.

Atul Das, the councillor of ward 41, said:“The laidback attitude of civic authorities and PHE officials during these days has left us apprehensive. If it takes over a week to repair a pump machine with no alternative machinery or arrangement to help the affected residents, there is every possibility of similar situations in future,” Das said.