Durgapur and Bankura run dry after sluice snag
Water supply to households and industries in Durgapur and Bankura, including four power plants, was severely affected on Sunday after the Durgapur barrage on the Damodar had run dry.
A sluice gate of the barrage had been twisted under high water pressure on Saturday, following which the barrage was emptied out.
Several residents of Durgapur and Bankura were compelled to buy packaged drinking water on Sunday as taps at homes or on roadsides were dry.
“The caretaker of our apartment informed me in the morning that the reservoir had ran dry and there had been no supply of water from the civic body since Saturday evening. So, I purchased packaged drinking water for domestic use,” said Gopal Mukherjee, a physician and a resident of Durgapur.
“It is not possible to meet such a large demand with only two submersible pumps at our residential complex,” Mukherjee added.
Several residents of the town complained that though the local civic body had assured them of unhindered water supply for the next 48 hours, barely 10 minutes of unhindered supply had been recorded till Sunday afternoon.
“I used to collect water from the public tap in our locality but the civic body supplied water only for 10 minutes today. Most of us in the locality failed to collect water,” said Shipra Pramanik, a homemaker.
Traders said the demand for bottled water had shot up.
“I usually sell 600 litres daily but demand suddenly spiked today because of the incident at the Durgapur barrage. I have already sold 1,400 litres of water today,” said Anjan Chowdhury, a shopowner.
The authorities of Mejia Thermal Power Station (MTPS) Mejia in Bankura said they would be able to run the plant for maximum 48 hours more.
“We have not been getting fresh water from the Damodar since Saturday and the water we have in our reservoirs will be exhausted in the next 48 hours. If we cannot arrange unhindered water supply, we cannot produce power,” said an official of the MTPS under the Damodar Valley Corporation (DVC).
Sources said the situation at the other two power plants of the DVC in Andal and Durgapur was similar. The latter is a state-run concern operated by the Durgapur Projects Limited.
Durgapur mayor Dilip Agasty, who had a brief argument with irrigation department officials on Sunday regarding the delay, said they were “trying their best” to fix the problem.
“We are trying to maintain normal water supply from our reservoirs. We are expecting the situation to improve by Tuesday evening,” said Agasty. He, however, denied that the town was experiencing inadequate water supply on Sunday.
In Bankura, civic authorities started supplying water in tanks to households.
“We are collecting water from our deep tube wells and submersible pumps and supplying the water to the households. We are worried about the situation,” said a functionary of the Bankura municipality.
Irrigation secretary Naveen Prakash on Sunday visited Durgapur barrage and held a meeting with engineers and West Burdwan district officials.
“Our engineers are working on a war footing to restore normality. We will finish the work on the sluice gate by tomorrow,” said Prakash.
Once the sluice gate is fixed, water from two reservoirs upstream the Damodar in Jharkhand will feed the Durgapur barrage and it will take at least 24 hours to reach the Durgapur town.