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ADB sanctions loan worth Rs 2,280 crore

Public Health Engineering department likely to start work early in 2018; Bankura, East Midnapore, N-24 Pgns to bid farewell to drinking water woes.

Kolkata: Asian Development Bank (ADB) has sanctioned a loan worth Rs 2280 crore to supply drinking water in the rural areas of Bankura, East Midnapore and North 24-Parganas.
The work will be carried out by the Public Health Engineering (PHE) department. By 2020, the formidable issue of drinking water scarcity in the remote parts of these three districts will be a matter of the past. Tender process has been completed and work is likely to start early next year.
It may be recalled that after coming to power in 2011, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee had given maximum stress on supply of drinking water in villages and construction of rural roads. The departments responsible for the jobs are PHE, Panchayats and the Rural Development department. Both the departments are under Subrata Mukherjee.
She had also asked officials of PHE to come up with suggestions so that water scarcity in the villages can be alleviated. It may be mentioned that PHE sends water tankers in the remote areas of Bankura and Purulia districts every summer where vast areas reel under acute shortage of drinking water. In the rural areas, water is being lifted from water bodies which is then filtered and supplied to the households with the help of pipes. It may be mentioned that it was the British who had introduced this system in Bengal in 1867 and set up Palta Water Works, which lifts water from river Hooghly which is then filtered and supplied to Kolkata by underground pipelines.
The erstwhile Left Front government, which had boasted of rural development, did not take any comprehensive action to resolve drinking water crisis in the drought-torn areas in Bengal.
The PHE had prepared a comprehensive plan to provide drinking water to every household in Bankura, East Midnapore and north 24-parganas and approached ADB. ADB had scrutinised the plan and cleared the loan.
The scheme will benefit lakhs of people living in these three districts. Once the firms are elected and jobs assigned, work will be carried out on war footing. Attempts will be made to meet the deadline.
It may be recalled that PHE has taken up a unique scheme, where water is lifted at Debendrabala Ghat in North Kolkata and taken to New Town where the filtration station is situated, fed by underground pipes covering a distance of over 17 kms.
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