Thousands of residents in Siliguri are facing a drinking water crisis for the past few days as the water supply from the Fulbari treatment plant has become erratic because of huge silt deposits at the intake point.
On Saturday, as mayor Gautam Deb sat for his “Talk to the Mayor” — his weekly interactive session with city residents — a number of people mentioned the acute inconveniences because of water supply problems.
In Siliguri, drinking water supply has emerged as a major challenge for the civic body. While there is a demand of around 75 MLD (million litres per day), hardly 45 to 50 MLD is supplied across the city.
According to sources in SMC, the supply has reduced over the past few days in all 47 wards of the city because the intake well from where water is drawn to the treatment plant from the Teesta canal has been partially blocked by silt deposits. Because of the silt, less amount of water gets into the treatment plant
“We are carrying out de-siltation work at the intake point in Fulbari. Experts from Calcutta are engaged in the work. On Monday, we will also meet the officials of the state PHE department to mitigate the water supply crisis,” Deb told a resident during the session.
The team from Calcutta, a source said, has been working in Fulbari since Thursday. It is expected to clear the silt deposits by Sunday.
After Trinamul came to power in the SMC, the drinking water supply challenge was one of the main issues it had to handle. This made the board approach the state and the Centre. Finally, the Centre gave approval for a new drinking water project under the AMRUT 2.0 scheme.
According to the plan, water will be drawn directly from the Teesta river and not from its canal. Initial estimates show that a sum of Rs 509 crore would be spent on the project.
“Recently, the tender process for the first phase of the project (which is worth Rs 213 crore) has been carried out. Three agencies have taken part in the process. We expect the work to start soon,” said a civic body official.