The civic drainage department plans to take a closer look at the problem of waterlogging on the eastern fringes of the city, in view of last week’s marooning of the Lok Sabha constituency of Trinamul Congress leader Mamata Banerjee. A Rs 2-crore proposal is on the anvil, to set up three lifting stations at Tiljala and Topsia. Each pumping station will cost about Rs 60 lakh.
“It means a one-time investment of Rs 200 per head for the lakh of people living in the area. The pumping stations will end their decades-old misery,” said mayor Subrata Mukherjee.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) had allotted Rs 90 crore for the under-developed areas of east Calcutta, distributed over six wards. These wards, included in the ADB’s Calcutta’s Environment Improvement Project subsequently at the insistence of Mukherjee, are nos. 56, 57, 59, 66, 107 and 108.
According to mayor-in-council member (drainage & sewerage) Mala Roy, waterlogging is not unusual in the city after a heavy shower. Rainwater accummulates on the streets when the run-off crosses the capacity of the city’s integrated drainage system, she explained.
But for some areas, waterlogging was a severe problem as the accumulated rainwater, together with spill-off drain water, takes an unusually long time to recede, long after the rain stops. This type of waterlogging is mostly localised, Roy added.
About a lakh residents of the Tiljala-Topsia-Kasba belt have suffered the problem of getting marooned in filthy sewage for over 30 years, pointed out local councillor and mayor-in-council member Javed Ahmed Khan.
Their woes turn particularly acute during the monsoon, as the sewage canals are full to the brim with run-off water from areas like Kidderpore, Ballygunge, Bhowanipore and Entally, pumped into them by the Ballygunge and Topsia pumping stations, Ahmed added.
Since the sewage canals spill over, the drainage systems of Roycharan Ghosh Lane, CN Roy Road, Sapgachhi First Lane, Tiljala, Martin Para, GJ Khan Road, Bidhannagar and Hastings have lost their capacity to flow into the canals. Instead, the sewage water from the overflowing canals submerge the localities, he pointed out.
“A lifting station is the only cost-effective way to solve the annual misery of thousands of families in the area,” agreed a former chief engineer of the drainage and sewerage department.