For Salt Lake residents, with memories of the 2000 floods still fresh in their minds, this may be the best piece of news they have heard in months.
The Calcutta Metropolitan Planning Committee and the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) are now working on a plan to bring the sewer system of the township, on the verge of a collapse, back in shape.
The proposal, drafted by Anupam Dutta, member of the planning committee’s executive panel and leader of the Opposition in the Bidhannagar Municipality, will be submitted to the CMDA soon, said Rabin Deb, CPM legislator from Ballygunge, and chairman of the planning committee’s sewerage and drainage sector.
Dilip Gupta, chairman, Salt Lake municipality, said such a proposal is “welcome” to safeguard the interests of the residents. “The township has entered its 40th year but since its inception, no large-scale maintenance has been carried out,” Dutta said. “Even the sewerage pumping stations are in bad shape, as they have not been repaired for years,” he added.
According to officials, if the lines are not repaired soon, the problem will aggravate in the coming days, with the township population touching the 2.5-lakh mark. Presently, the township’s sewerage is being flowed out through the twin pipeline system, starting from sewerage pumping station number 3 to the Bangur Sewerage Treatment Plant (BST) near Dum Dum Park, passing below Deer Park, Keshtopur Canal and VIP Road. “One of the two pipes is fully choked, while the other is nearly 75 per cent blocked,” they added.
According to CMDA officials, the BST plant being partly inactive, solid waste cannot be separated, which causes the solid and liquid waste flowing through the Keshtopur Canal, seriously affecting its navigation.
Officials admit that though the municipality takes up the repairs, “the steps are far from adequate”. “We need modern equipment and huge funds to clear the sewer system of the township,” a Bidhannagar Municipality official told Metro.
The most affected wards are one, two, three, seven, eight, 11 and 12. The length of the drainage lines in Salt Lake (planned area) is 197.8 km, for which a sum of Rs 25.98 lakh is required for annual maintenance. The length of total sewer lines in the township is 278.1 km, for which at least Rs 67.28 lakh is needed for the same purpose.
“The sewerage system of Salt Lake will collapse any day,” said Hiranmay Bardhan, member, AD Block Association. Bardhan, a civil engineer himself, alleged that the diametre of the pipes in Salt Lake was not calculated keeping in mind the rate of growth of population, which has now increased manifold. “While setting up the sewerage system, officials had miscalculated the rate of population,” he said. “The flow is often stagnant. Such problems aggravate during monsoon,” said S.M. Bhattacharya, secretary, BC Block Association.
After the floods in 2000, the municipality had undertaken a sewer-cleaning drive. “But the twin-barrel pipeline under the Keshtopur Canal, could not be cleared,” an official admitted.
Municipality chairman Gupta feels that there should be a long-term project by the CMDA for improving drainage and sewer systems. “The waste matter of all the municipalities in North 24-Parganas must flow through the Vidyadhari canal. These municipalities must be brought under an umbrella, with the CMDA acting as the nodal agency,” he added.