There is no way the government can prevent waterlogging in the city. What it can do, though, is not allow the streets to remain waterlogged for long.
Municipal affairs and urban development minister Asok Bhattacharya has warned of stringent action against officers who fail to ensure that.
“The blame game among the agencies involved in swifter drainage, like the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC), Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA), the government’s irrigation department and others, cannot continue. Officers of the agencies will meet every week to work things out,” the minister said.
His department will write to the CESC for uninterrupted power at the pumping stations during waterlogging, so that the water can be drained out quickly.
The Metro Railway will be asked to keep a check on the depth of the sub-canals around Tolly’s Nullah, as part of minister Bhattacharya’s drive against standing rainwater.
In tandem, mayor Subrata Mukherjee has sanctioned a Rs 4.5-crore lifting station at Taratala to prevent it from getting submerged after every shower. Taratala is a low-lying pocket into which rainwater from Behala pours in after a heavy shower. The project will also benefit residents of New Alipore, as will the pumping station coming up on Southern Avenue provide relief to south Calcutta pockets.
According to the mayor, the city centre is not too badly off. It is the added areas of Behala, Jadavpur and Garden Reach that cause concern. He pointed out that the lockgates — gates that allow standing water to flow into the drainage canals — were lying defunct. To check waterlogging, they would have to be made operative, he added.
Mukherjee feared waterlogging might pose a major problem this year, as indications were that the monsoon may be heavier than last year. “Unless we take steps right away, we will be in deep water,” the mayor quipped. Inspectors of the civic body’s drainage department have been alerted to check the sewers and pumps and ensure that matters remain under control.