In a bid to raise awareness on water conservation, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee hit the streets of Kolkata on Friday to mark the ‘Save Water Day’. Accompanied by her Cabinet ministers, government officials and eminent intellectuals, Banerjee took out a padayatra from Jorasanko to Gandhi’s statue on Mayo Road.
Banerjee, who had earlier declared July 12 as ‘Save Water Day’, wrote a theme song for water conservation and also penned a pledge in Bengali for the occasion.
Bid to preempt Oppn’s attack on civic issues
Following the success of its Jal Dharo-Jal Bharo (water conservation) scheme, the Mamata Banerjee government is focusing more on schemes aimed at improving the environment. As shortage of water is being reported from various places across the country, the state government has taken the issue seriously and appears resolute in finding a solution to prevent water shortage before it unfolds. The move is also being seen as an attempt to keep the Opposition at bay before they start targeting the ruling party and the state government for its failure to address environmental issues.
The initiative from her government came in the backdrop of acute water crisis in various parts of the country, especially in Chennai.
“When we were drafting the manifesto for 2011 Assembly elections, we decided to launch the ‘Jal Dharo-Jal Bharo’ project and dig 50,000 ponds. We have created 3 lakh ponds in the last eight years. We have set up check dams for water conservation. Every year we face floods due to water released by DVC. We have also undertaken the work for cleaning the irrigation canals. We have several regions (like Birbhum, Bankura, Purulia), which receive scant rainfall. By harvesting rain water, we have mitigated the loss,” Banerjee said at a programme, which was held at the end of her padayatra.
The chief minister also asked people not to waste drinking water. “Often, we waste drinking water, which we must avoid. There are many people who do not have access to even a drop of water. We must use water judiciously, as per our needs. We must switch off fans and lights. Save water, save life. Save power, save the environment,” she said.
Meanwhile, sources said the sate government will soon start a new scheme called Barsha Shakti.
The scheme will focus on converting rainwater to drinking water using solar power. The pilot project for the scheme will soon start in the South 24 Parganas district, the source said. Eminent scientist, Dr S P Gon Chaudhuri will provide the expertise.
According to a senior government official, rainwater collected in tanks will be stored in rooftop tanks using pumps run on solar power. The project will initially start in two villages and two schools in South 24 Parganas within the next two months.