The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Dry street bill: 500 cr

If you spent Thursday afternoon wading through rainwater in the heart of the city and wondering what it would take for the streets not to be flooded by a sharp shower, the answer was blowing in the moisture-laden winds.

Rs 500 crore, smartly spent over three years, is what it will take to rid core Calcutta of its waterlogging woes.

The script for the giant sewer-revamp scheme is being co-authored by the Calcutta Municipal Corporation (CMC), and the Jawaharlal Nehru Urban Renewal Mission.

And what will Rs 500 crore ensure for command area Tallah to Tollygunge'

• Desilting 176-km brick sewer and 1,500-km trunk sewer

• Repairing brick sewer

• Importing trenchless technology from Bangkok

• Dredging Bagjola Canal and Tollygunge-Panchannagram channel

When an urban renewal mission team came calling last month, the CMC had petitioned it for Rs 100 crore to tone up the drainage system in the core area. The central team had urged the civic body to think of a larger scheme, pointing to a proposed Mumbai makeover model.

The 36-month plan will be the biggest sewer revamp programme for the Tallah-to-Tollygunge belt post-Independence, confirmed mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharyya.

“Since it is not possible to dig up all the thoroughfares, we are planning to introduce trenchless technology in cleaning and repairing the brick sewers. One of our deputy chief engineers is now in Singapore to study the trenchless method,” said municipal commissioner Alapan Bandyopadhyay.

The aim of the sewer-revamp scheme will be to restore the draining-out capacity of the underground brick sewers to what it was from 1876 to 1900. In order to achieve this, a three-pronged strategy is being drawn up by the CMC’s civil engineering department.

First up, the cleaning of the brick sewers and trunk (big diameter) sewers, repairing of the brick sewers and dredging of some outfall channels dropped from the Asian Development Bank-funded Calcutta Environment Improvement Project.

About 70 per cent of the budget will be used to clear the solidified silt from the brick sewers, with the sewers less than 4.5-inch in diameter being the first clean-up target.

As a second step, the brick sewers will be repaired and strengthened to pre-empt collapse, post-clean-up.

In the third stage, Bagjola canal, Tollygunge-Panchannagram channel and several other minor outfall channels will be dredged.

Municipal commissioner Bandyopadhyay said the CMC will shell out Rs 250 crore and the rest will be shared by the central and state governments.

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