All Bengal villages to get drinking water by 2021
The department has planned 628 projects including 10 big ones. It may be mentioned that Subrata Mukherjee after becoming the minister in 2011, had prepared Vision 2020 at an estimated project cost of Rs 21,000 crore.
In drought prone Purulia district where drinking water is a major problem, a Rs 1173 crore scheme has been undertaken to mitigate this water crisis. As the ground-water level is often depleted in the district during summer, unfiltered water will be lifted from rivers and water reservoirs, treated and supplied to individual houses by pipeline. The work is on at a furious pace and it is likely to be completed by 2018.
In Bankura where there is a acute drinking water crisis in summer, schemes worth Rs 1,160 crore have been rolled out. In phase I, 14 blocks will be benefitted while in phase II, residents of 8 blocks will be covered at an estimated cost of Rs 833 crore.
Another major scheme at an estimated cost of Rs 1,332 crore is coming up at Budge Budge in South 24 Parganas where unfiltered water will be lifted from river and purified and later supplied. Ten blocks will be covered under the scheme.
The first phase is likely to be functional by December 2016. In South 24 Parganas, arsenic contamination and salinity in water pose a serious threat. Ground water in vast areas in the district has high arsenic content. So supply of water in the areas is a must to check arsenic contamination.
It may be recalled that the concept of lifting unfiltered water from river Hooghly, filter it and then supply piped water to the residents was first developed in Kolkata by the British in 1864, shortly after the Sepoy Mutiny.
From, Independence to 2010, the venture was restricted mainly to Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC). After coming to power Mamata Banerjee asked the department to draw up with plans where unfiltered water from rivers can be utilised for drinking.
In Rajarhat, Haroa and Bhangar II where there is arsenic contamination, piped water will be supplied from the water treatment plant at New Town. Unfiltered water is being lifted from Devendrabalaghat in North Kolkata and taken to the filtration tank situated 19 km away.
In Tapan and Gangarampur blocks in South Dinajpur, surface water will be supplied at an estimated cost of over Rs 100 crore to combat fluoride contamination.
The project will be functional by 2017. PHE will also set up a water supply scheme at Jaigaon in Alipurduar district where unfiltered water will be lifted from river Torsha and supplied to the residents.