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Silt dumping project hits a bump,canals clogged

Desilting of various canals in the city has been stalled due to non-availability of land for dumping silt...

Written by Madhuparna Das | Kolkata |
January 20, 2009 2:31:02 am

Desilting of various canals in the city has been stalled due to non-availability of land for dumping silt. The state irrigation department and the Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) are facing a dearth of low-lying land where they can dump large quantities of silt.

To augment the city’s drainage and sewerage network,it was decided to desilt five canals — Churial Khal,Manikhali Khal,Begor Khal,the Tala-Panchannagram channel along with its intercepting and feeder channels and Keorapukur channel — so that sewage and drained-out water can easily have an outfall. The rainwater can pass through the canals without any back flow once the canals are desilted.

However,the state irrigation and waterways department along with the KMC’s nodal agency,the Kolkata Environmental Improvement Project (KEIP),are unable to undertake the desilting project on full-fledged scale locals in the villages where the dumping was being done have started resenting it.

“The project had to be halted not only due to the non-availability of the land but there was a problem of modality. This also caused public resentment,” said a senior KEIP official.

“We do not have any vacant land to dump the silt. We had a long discussion with the KMC on the issue so that we can arrange for some land where we can dump the silt,” said state Irrigation Minister Subhas Naskar.

According to a senior official,the civic body has vast swathes of land in the city and its fringes where the silt can be dumped,but it kept dumping on the private land without taking the permission of the owners,which led to resentment.

Mayor Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya said after a meeting between the state irrigation department and the KMC along with the other municipalities and panchayets,the problem has been sorted out. “We have had talks with some of the landowners in Maheshtala,Thakurpukur and Pujali where there are some low-lying plots. We will dump the silt there and it will help the landowners also,” said Bhattacharya.

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