Millennium Post

To combat arsenic threat, KMC to rid city of hand pumps in two years

In two years the city will be free of tubewells (hand pumps) as Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) have ensured maximum household water supply to come out of arsenic threat.

The assurance comes from Mayor Sovan Chaterjee. Ensuring 40 million gallon per day (MGD) for every citizen, Chatterjee said that KMC is now self sufficient of distributing household water.

“The production of Garden Reach Water Works was 37 MGD when I took up the charge. But now, the production has gone up to 185 MGD and will increase to 210 MGD.

“The preparation of new distribution system of Indira Gandhi Water Treatment Plant at Palta is underway. The production there will rise by 20 MGD. The present capacity of Jai Hind Jal Prakalpa at Dhapa is 30 MGD – which will increase by 40 MGD soon. The supply system there is almost ready,” the Mayor said at the sideline of CII Climate Conclave 2016.

However, KMC will send from its own fund to prepare the distribution system to supply water, but is in talk with Asian Development Bank (ADB) for adequate loan.

“Prevention is better than cure. We have started work for isolating Arsenic in KMC area. ADB has asked us to consider 24 hour water supply in ward 1 to 6, 142 to 144 and 123 to 125. They have also proposed to supply 12 hours water for some areas,” Mayor said, adding the development bank had already given an amount of Rs 72 crore in this bid.

Kolkata shed the deep tube well a long ago. But there are still some hand pumps which can be seen in different location of South Kolkata, where KMC once found tinge of Arsenic in the mid nineties.

Of the 144 wards that the city is divided into, as many as 30 have “high levels” of arsenic in groundwater, showed by an earlier study by the School of Environmental Studies (SOES) of Jadavpur University.

In some wards, the arsenic level is “dangerously high”, and traces of the deadly metalloids were found in samples drawn from 32 more wards, but the level was within permissible limits.
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