The Siliguri Municipal Corporation (SMC) has planned to set up 17 deep tube wells as part of the interim arrangements to meet the drinking water crisis in the town. The foundation stone for one such project worth around Rs 50 lakh was laid in Ward-5 today.
“There is drinking water scarcity in many areas. The earlier project taken up for houseto-house water connection in the SMC area has not been upgraded. Now, in order to address the problem of drinking water temporarily, the civic body will install 17 deep tube wells, area wise,” said the chairperson of the civic body board of administrators, Gautam Deb.
The deep tube wells extract groundwater, which is sent to houses after filtration. The daily requirement of water for the SMC area is almost 72 million litters, while the requirement per head is 70 litters, but people get only 40 litres. The existing project was introduced by keeping in mind the 33 SMC wards with a population of 3.50 lakh around 27 years ago.
However, later, the number of wards increased to 47 and the population rose to around 7 lakh. With the rising population in Siliguri, the existing drinking water infrastructure has been inadequate to meet the demand. Under the project, water is drawn from the Mahananda canal at Fulbari and then filtered at the treatment plant there.
The water is then sent to the wards through 15 overhead and four underground reservoirs located across the SMC area and even in areas near the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital. According to Mr Deb, the state government was focusing on the proposed new drinking water project for the SMC.
The estimated budget for the comprehensive plan is around Rs 550 crore. The Trinamul Congressled state government had in 2011 decided to introduce the second water project for Siliguri, but it is yet to take off. The previous Left-run civic board had also proposed the state municipal affairs department to include the project under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation.
The second corporation board meeting had approved the 17 deep tube well project, with Rs 8.50 crore. The project work in Ward5 will be completed within two months, Mr Deb said. Members of the board of administrators, Alok Chakrbaborty, Ranjan Sarkar, civic body commissioner Sonam Wangdi Bhutia, PHE engineers and other officials were present during the foundation stone laying programme today.