Eight North Bengal districts to get solar-run pumping stations to end drinking water woes

Eight North Bengal districts to get solar-run pumping stations to end drinking water woes
Kolkata: The North Bengal Development Department has taken up a unique plan to supply drinking water to residents of eight North Bengal districts by installing solar-power fitted pumping stations where clusters of households are situated. This will solve the age-old drinking water problem of the people living in the semi-urban and rural areas of North Bengal. For around 150 to 200 households, one such pumping station will be installed. The project is eco-friendly as the mechanism of the pumping station to fetch underground water will run on solar power. The project will be taken up in eight districts including Malda, North and South Dinajpur, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Cooch Behar and Alipurduar.

A thorough assessment will be carried out in each district to identify the locations where it will be installed. Implementation of the project in the hilly areas of North Bengal will be based on the feasibility. North Bengal Development Minister Rabindranath Ghosh said: "We had a detailed discussion on the project during a high-level meeting held on Saturday. A detailed plan of action will be prepared to execute the project." He further said that all steps will be taken to ensure that people get safe drinking water. Before finalising the locations where each of these pumping stations can be set up, experts will test the quality of water samples collected from the same area.

Similar pumping stations to fetch underground water using solar power will also be set up to help farmers get sufficient water for agriculture purposes. This comes when the annual budget for the department in 2020-21 fiscal is Rs 710 crore. A project has also been taken up to construct 150 bridges across canal rivers in eight North Bengal districts replacing the existing temporary ones which are made of wood or bamboo. Construction of each will cost around Rs 1 to Rs 1.5 crore. At present, there are 700 ongoing projects of the North Bengal Development Department and it includes the construction of several bridges, strengthening of roads, setting up crematoriums, construction of hostels and auditoriums. All the work had got stuck due to lockdown. Only 20 to 25 per cent of the work of many of these projects are pending. So directions have been given to ensure fast completion of the projects, if possible before Durga Puja.

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The North Bengal Development Department has taken up a unique plan to supply drinking water to residents of eight North Bengal districts by installing

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