Bankura: Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday announced a new drinking water project in Bankura at a projected cost of Rs 1,100 crore that would lessen the age-old water crisis in the drought-prone areas of Western districts.
Bankura, Purulia and West Midnapore have historically remained the most drought-prone districts of Bengal. Nearly every year, during summer, the wells go dry and villagers often resort to digging shallow wells near the riverbed to collect water for domestic purposes. During her administrative review meeting in Bankura, the Chief Minister said the new drinking water project would soon come up at the district to address water woes.
Supply of piped drinking water in Bankura has been increased by a huge margin. Giving a statistics, Banerjee said that earlier there was 15 percent piped drinking water supply in the area, but the figure has shot up to 60 percent.
It is worth mentioning here that it was the Mamata Banerjee government that started supplying water tankers in the drought-prone areas of these districts where there was acute drinking water crisis during the erstwhile Left Front government's regime.
The Public Health Engineering (PHE) department has been carrying out projects to ensure that there is no crisis of water. The Chief Minister also instructed the state Irrigation department and even district administration officials to complete the embankments before the rainy season so that floods can be checked in those areas. She also reiterated that Rs 2,500 crore project would begin in the Lower Damodar basin to facilitate irrigation.
Since the district is famous for its handicrafts, the Chief Minister instructed Rajiva Sinha, Additional Chief Secretary of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and textiles to prepare a comprehensive scheme thereby increasing the clusters in Bankura. Sinha informed Banerjee that around 30 MSME clusters are being set up in the district which involves more than 800 Self-Help Groups.
She also inquired as to why the proposed railway project connecting Tarakeswar in Hooghly with Bishnupur in Bankura has been stalled. She was told that some encroachers were unwilling to give the land despite compensation. To that, Banerjee added that railway projects could not be delayed in this manner. A large section of people will be benefitted if the railway services begin, she said. She also urged to the Chief Secretary to look into the matter.
"The proposed railway project which will pass through Jayrambati and Kamarpukur cannot be stalled as the places witness a huge number of devotees every year. The project is for the benefit of common people, and hence, it must start," Banerjee maintained.
She also announced a host of new projects including an agricultural hub which would come up in the district. A food-processing hub has been proposed at Khirbad block. She also instructed the officials to develop tourism in Mukutmanipur so that more people can visit the place.
Giving a strong message to the district administration, Banerjee maintained that there should not be any delay in the implementation of various government schemes due to the forthcoming Panchayat election. She also sought better coordination between different departments to implement the government projects.
The Chief Minister also slammed the Centre for stopping the funds for the development of the Western districts that were once the den of extremist groups. She stated that it is the Bengal government that is carrying out all the development projects on its own without any help from the Centre.