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Home / West-bengal / Silt deposits turn Siliguri taps dry

Silt deposits turn Siliguri taps dry

Since Aug 30, water supply was disrupted at a number of areas in the city
Chairperson of SMC board of administrators Gautam Deb (in blue shirt) at the Fulbari water treatment plant.
Chairperson of SMC board of administrators Gautam Deb (in blue shirt) at the Fulbari water treatment plant.
Passang Yolmo

Our Correspondent   |   Siliguri   |   Published 06.09.21, 02:48 AM

Around 10 lakh residents of Siliguri, the largest urban hub in north Bengal, are facing acute shortage in drinking water that is supplied by their civic body for about a week.

The reason being huge silt deposits at the entry point where water is drawn from the Mahananda canal to the water treatment plant run by the state public health engineering (PHE) department.

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The plant located in Fulbari on the southern end of the city filters the water which is then supplied to the civic area across 47 wards.

According to sources, since the past few years, the PHE and officials of Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) associated with drinking water supply in the city had sounded alerts on the problems that have now snowballed.

“The infrastructure of the existing treatment plant, set up in the 1990s, is inadequate to cater to the population of the entire city. Secondly, regular silt deposits at the entry point made it narrower and it takes hours to draw adequate water to the plant,” said a source in the SMC.

Since August 30, water supply was disrupted at a number of areas in the city. The situation worsened in the past couple of days as water supply virtually stopped.

Since Friday evening, sources said, too little water from the plant could reach all of the 16 overhead and four underground reservoirs spread over the SMC area.

“Around 150 million litres of water should be supplied every day. But hardly 50 million litres could be distributed,” the source added.

Residents are now scrambling to buy drinking water bottles and jerry cans.

“We fail to understand why the PHE and the civic body did not develop an alternative route through which water can be drawn into the plant. It is disappointing that only because of silt deposits that we have to face such a big inconvenience,” said Subhash Sengupta, a schoolteacher.

Gautam Deb, chairperson of the board of administrators (BoA) of the SMC, visited the water treatment plant on Sunday and spoke to PHE officials. He was accompanied by Alok Chakraborty, the member at the BoA who is in charge of water supply.

“Engineers of the state PHE department have worked on a war footing during the past seven days and have clear most of the silt blocking the passage of water. Also, a group of engineers from the department will arrive here from Calcutta on Tuesday. We hope the water supply will normalise soon,” said Deb.

He also accused the erstwhile civic boards, including the Left-led board that was in power till last year, of gross neglect.

“They did not bother to address the issue. It is because of their negligence that people are facing this problem now. The state has decided to set up a mega drinking water project for the city with an estimated cost of around Rs 470 crore. The state PHE department is preparing a detailed project report,” added Deb.



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