The Telegraph
Monday , January 31 , 2011
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Water crisis on fringes as Garden Reach unit trips

More than five lakh residents of Behala and Mahestala have been facing water crisis since Saturday night following a snag at the Garden Reach waterworks run by the Calcutta Metropolitan Water and Sanitation Authority.

Civic officials could not say whether normal supply would resume by Monday.

Mayor Sovan Chatterjee took the opportunity to plead with Mamata Banerjee, at a railway programme in Garden Reach, to hand over the facility to the civic authorities after she came to power.

“We have to take a lot of flak for Garden Reach. People think we are at fault. Garden Reach dao didi (Give us the Garden Reach waterworks didi),” the mayor pleaded with the railway minister while addressing the gathering.

As Chatterjee kept voicing resentment at the “state government’s reluctance” to hand over the waterworks to the Calcutta Municipal Corporation, Mamata stopped him midway and asked what plans he had to upgrade the city’s water supply system.

Nije ki korbe seta bolo (Tell me what you will do),” Mamata told the mayor. Chatterjee replied that he would set up a water treatment plant of 100 million gallon capacity.

Last month, the mayor had skipped a meeting on Garden Reach waterworks called by municipal affairs minister Asok Bhattacharya.

Sources at the CMWSA, a state government undertaking, said a pump at the Garden Reach unit developed a snag on Saturday evening. The unit has two grids — Calcutta Circle and South Suburban.

The Calcutta Circle grid — which covers areas like Bhowanipore, Kalighat, Chetla and Tollygunge — was largely unaffected but the other one took a hit.

“The supply in Behala and Mahestala was affected on Saturday evening. In the Sunday morning slot, from 6am to 10am, the pressure was so low that water could only reach roadside taps and a few houses in low-lying areas,” said an official. In the evening, water is supplied from 4.30pm to 7pm. On Sunday evening, the supply lasted only 45 minutes.

CMWSA engineers, however, blamed Mahestala Municipality for the inadequate supply of water. “The municipality did not run the water pumps in its area, causing problems in Behala,” said an engineer.

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