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Rs 205 crore Centre funds for Darjeeling water solution

water supply in darjeeling through truck
The Centre has sanctioned a Rs 205 crore project to revamp the water distribution system in Darjeeling municipality, the biggest scheme to be undertaken in the civic area in terms of the amount.
"The project has been sanctioned under the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) which is under the Union ministry of urban development," said Amar Singh Rai, chairman, Darjeeling municipality.
The hill municipality had been pursuing the project since 2012. "The project, whose cost has been pegged at Rs 205 crore, has been finally sanctioned and we have also received Rs 38.92 crore as the first instalment. The fund is for the purchase of pipes and we have already floated an e-tender," said Rai.

The project entails relaying all pipes in town, setting up 30 water tanks for the 32 wards in Darjeeling and putting in place 14 pump houses at different locations in town.
"We plan to stop leakage of water and ensure equal distribution of water to all," said Rai.
Under the AMRUT, the Centre will be providing 50 per cent of the funds. "The Centre will bear 50 per cent of the project cost, while the state will chip in 45 per cent of the amount. The municipality will have to contribute the remaining five per cent. We will be provided with a loan by the state government to meet up the five per cent," said Rai.
He said the overhaul of the water supply was the biggest project the municipality was undertaking in terms of cost. The hill civic body was established in 1850.
The present water distribution network was set up in the 1930s-40s and with the expanding population, the system has become haphazard. According to the 2011 census, the population of Darjeeling municipality area stands at 1,18,805, which is more than double the town's population of 57,603 in 1981.
"With every passing day, the number of connections has increased in a haphazard manner," said Rai.
Under the project, the municipality also plans to introduce water meters. "We will start with business establishments first and then, introduce the system for domestic users," said Rai.
Right now water is stored in two lakes, North Lake and South Lake at Senchel near Tiger Hill before being supplied to households and business establishments.
The two lakes are fed by 26 streams in the Khang Khola area. Water is also pumped from the Balasun river for about 12-13 hours daily.
"Under the AMRUT project, one more reservoir will be set up in St Paul's area," said Rai.(TT)

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