If things go as planned, the much-awaited mega drinking water project for Siliguri will be announced this month. Sources said the project cost could be around Rs 511 crore, while officials said the project had already reached “the stage of announcement.” The project was sent for inclusion under the central scheme–Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT)-2.0– through the state government, and has been sanctioned. The project is likely to be announced by the urban development and municipal affairs minister, Firhad Hakim, from Kolkata at the end of this month. “The comprehensive mega drinking water project is expected to be announced from Nabanna at the end of this month. It has been sanctioned under AMRUT-2.0,” Siliguri Mayor Gautam Deb said. The Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) supplies 55 million litres of water per day (MLD), while the demand is 70 million litres. The proposed project will have the capacity of supplying 135 MLD, it is learnt.
Along with this, the installation work of three sewerage treatment plants is likely to be announced at the same time. Sources said the revised budget for drinking water had varied from Rs 350 crore to Rs 470 crore, and also Rs 446 crore in the past few years. The long-pending project has faced inordinate delay for the past several years. The Trinamul Congress-led state government had in 2011 decided to introduce the project for Siliguri. With the rising population in the town, the existing drinking water infrastructure has been inadequate in meeting the demand. “The existing project had been taken up around three decades ago, but it is inadequate in terms of rising population and rapid urbanization. During the past few years, water supply in Siliguri has been hit on several occasions. The second project was planned when the Trinamul Congress came to power,” an official said.
For Siliguri, the water is drawn from the TeestaMahananda Canal and taken to the treatment plant, where it is purified. Water flows from Fulbari to 16 overhead tanks and four underground reservoirs at different places of the town through a network of pipelines, which is maintained by the PHE. From the reservoirs, another network of pipes carries water to all the 47 wards. The civic body supplies drinking water to more than 40,000 households in those wards. The SMC has also received funds of Rs 6.9 crore for the construction of an alternative permanent intake well at Fulbari. Meanwhile, the underconstruction G+4 SMC building is likely to be completed within December. The estimated project cost of the building is Rs 6 crore. The building will have an elevator, conference hall, facilities for Powerpoint presentation, public address system, and a waiting lounge for visitors, among others.