The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Drive to keep drains free

The Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC) has launched a weeklong campaign to create awareness among citizens on the use and misuse of drains.

The aim is to make the city less prone to waterlogging in the monsoon ahead. The drive, kicked off on Thursday morning, bears the motto ‘Let the drains flow’.

Mayoral council (drainage and sewerage) member Rajib Deb explained to the inaugural rally at Bijon Setu that “free flow in the drains means less waterlogging after a shower, less breeding of mosquitoes and less stench”.

This is the first time the civic drainage department has hit the streets to involve people in keeping the city’s sewers flowing. Three camps have been set up in different parts of the city for the campaign. Apart from Bijon Setu, the other two camps are at the Shyambazar five-point crossing and at the intersection of BB Ganguly Street and Amherst Street.

Civic officials from these camps are educating people on the dos and don’ts of using drains. Messages are being read out over microphones and leaflets are being distributed. Calcuttans are being told that every drop of water they use has to be pumped out at an enormous cost. The CMC pumps out 220 million gallons of used water daily, according to chief engineer (drainage and sewerage) Swapan Dattagupta.

Similarly, 10 tonnes of discarded polybags, gunny-bags and rags are retrieved daily from the strainers at the pumping stations in Palmerbazar, Ballygunge and Dhapa Lock.

Indiscriminate direct dumping of polybags, cinder and other solid trash cripples the city’s drainage and sewerage service, civic officials said.

According to Deb, there is a 200-km, underground, brick sewer and a 1,200-km-long pipe sewer network in the city.

Fifty per cent of the underground system has already been choked by an accumulation of silt, and 80 per cent of the surface drains have lost their flow due to encroachment by hawkers and vendors, pointed out mayoral council member Deb.

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