The BJP Friday termed the “unfiltered water supply system” in Kolkata as a major scandal, which it would do away with on priority if voted to power in Kolkata Municipal Corporation election.
“Unfiltered water supply system in Kolkata is a major scandal. It had been set up by the British for road washing, fire-fighting and privy purposes. As far back as in 1977, the World Bank gave a very substantial grant to the then Left Front government to get CMC (now KMC) to do away with the system completely and to augment the filtered water supply system. The World Bank also made it a condition (to apply for further aids or grants) that the unfiltered water system will be totally done away with. Over the last five years, the system has been illegally restored and is being used for all unauthorised purposes such as washing of vehicles. We plan to set this undesirable situation right and upgrade the filtered water supply system,” reads the party manifesto for the civic polls.
It added that it would completely “eliminate the groundwater extraction system in the city”. Significantly, most of the residential complexes in Kolkata and fringe areas still depend on the groundwater extraction system.
The BJP manifesto states that high arsenic content and other heavy metal pollutants in extracted groundwater are taking a heavy toll on peoples’ health in South Bengal and also endangering lives and property in a geo-hydrologically sensitive zone. “Filtered water is to be supplied to all households. In the interim, KMC will provide suitable concessions in rates and taxes to schools/ colleges/ universities/ hospitals/ old age homes that set-up their own water filter plants confirming to the standards laid down by the Corporation,” it states.
In contrast with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s decision of providing identity cards to the hawkers, the BJP manifesto states that people take to hawking because they could not find gainful employment elsewhere. “This is a direct result of the trade union militancy started in this state by the Left parties, which resulted in wholesale flight of capital from the state. The Singur incident, resulting in the flight of Tata Motors from West Bengal and the irrational, populist land policy followed by the Trinamool has made matters many times worse”.
If voted to power, BJP said, it would implement National Hawker Policy and take action in accordance with the recommendation of the apex body. “Footpaths are primarily for pedestrians. Permit zones can be identified where hawkers may be allowed. Standardized kiosks are to be made compulsory for all hawkers in designated zones. In some areas, kiosks will be on wheels and will have to be removed from the spot at the designated time,” it said.