The Telegraph
Sunday , January 12 , 2014
CIMA Gallary

Itís time Howrah got its due: Mayor

Howrah mayor Rathin Chakraborty shares with Metro his plans for the cityís development

Howrah has been neglected for 30 long years. How do you plan to rectify this in a time-bound manner?

Itís time Howrah got its due but we will need time for complete all-round development. Our chief minister has clearly instructed me to start work on a war footing. She wants to see results in three months. Since the issues plaguing Howrah cannot be solved at one go, we will divide the work into short-term and long-term projects. For example, there is a scarcity of potable water in Howrah. To solve this, we need a long-term project to increase water intake and the capacity of water treatment plants and check the pipeline network. But does that mean the people of Howrah will go without water in summer? We cannot let that happen. So we will take up some short-term measures like boring deep tubewells to feed more water into the intake points. Later when the long-term projects are completed, we can do away with these deep tubewells because we are not really in favour of using subsoil water.

What about a new water plant for Howrah?

Before creating new infrastructure, we are trying to see if we can optimise utilisation of the existing infrastructure. Howrah already has Padmapukur Water Works, which has been the heartline of water supply from 1984. The question is why didnít it generate the 70 million gallons as per its capacity? We are trying to figure that out. Both the Calcutta Metropolitan Development Authority and Calcutta Metropolitan Water and Sanitation Development Authority are helping us out. We are being supported not just financially but also with resources. Experts from Jadavpur University are studying the problem and will submit a report soon.

How will you tackle the problem of waterlogging?

We have no sewer system to talk of. Nothing was done to maintain the one built by the British. We cannot change it in six months. So we have to undertake short-term measures to avoid waterlogging in monsoon. Surveys are being done to assess where siltation is heavy in the 10ft-deep sewer lines. I am also going to initiate geo-satellite surveys with help from experts at Bengal Engineering and Science University to develop a contour map of Howrah. Once we know the topography well, we can tackle waterlogging in a scientific way.

What about the roads?

We have already declared that 48 roads in Howrah will be repaired. A total of Rs 10 crore has been sanctioned for that. Repairs are underway.

Open vats on Howrah roads are an eyesore ...

Garbage will be cleared early in the morning everyday. I have already given instructions to contractors that they cannot clear vats during office hours. And I urge people not to throw garbage here and there but only in the vats.

What about finding a new trenching ground? The one at Belgachhia is filled beyond capacity.

It is not easy to find land for a new trenching ground. We will use a compactor there. That will solve the problem to an extent. Besides, we are also trying to recycle garbage.

What are the beautification plans for Howrah?

Trident lights will be put up on all streets. Besides, no one knows from where Howrah begins and where it ends. We have plans of putting up arches at several entry points of Howrah to demarcate it from other districts. The riverside beautification project is on. We will try to complete it fast. Sarat Sadan will be revamped. We have plans of turning it into another Nandan.

If I was the mayor of Howrah, I would first.... Tell