These districts are Burdwan, West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia. A high level meeting to take a stock of the situation and the steps to be taken was held on Wednesday afternoon. Subrata Mukherjee, minister for Panchayat and Rural development department presided over it.
The Sabhadhipatis of these districts along with senior officials of the department attended the meeting.
It was decided that the department would send Rs 75 lakh each to the affected districts to repair tubewells and take necessary steps to ensure that people get drinking water which has become a formidable looking problem in 40 blocks spreading over these districts.
The department has so far sent 13 lakh drinking water pouches to the affected people. Each pouch weighs 500 ml. The mobile water treatment units have been kept stationary so that it will rush to the spot and supply drinking water immediately to the people. Through water tankers, 54,000 litres of filtered water have been distributed.
In absence of drinking water people are forced to take unfiltered water from the pond which increases the risk of being affected by enteric diseases. The disease occurred in some blocks which have been brought under control.
It has been decided that 500 new tubewells would be installed and 7,500 would be repaired. As the water level has gone further below, many tubewells are running dry. So tubewells with longer pipes would be installed to reach the ground water level. Some hand pumps have become inoperative and it has been decided to repair them on a war footing. Solar powered backed hand pumps will be installed to supply water on an emergency basis.
The acute water scarcity in Bankura has been greatly reduced due to the scheme taken up by the department. There is no water crisis in the vast areas under the jurisdiction of Bankura municipality.
Unfiltered water from river Damodar is lifted and then purified and supplied to individual households by pipeline.
Senior officials of the department said that Centre had not declared drought in any district so no central assistance could be available.
But the department is prepared to combat the situation and the steps taken on Wednesday would ensure availability of drinking water in the four districts where drought like situation has emerged.