The KMC, which will take up the responsibility of cleaning and beautifying ponds across the city, has received assurance from the state that a special fund will be sanctioned for the project.
The decision to restore over 300 water bodies was taken after mayor Firhad Hakim was flooded with calls from residents, especially those living in Dum Dum, Cossipore, Paikpara, Garden Reach, Metiabruz, Kidderpore, Behala, Tollygunge, Jadavpur and neighhbourhoods off EM Bypass, urging him to save the ponds from land sharks. Besides, many urged the mayor to help them clean up the ponds, many of which were covered in algae and dumped with garbage, posing a threat to spread diseases, including malaria and dengue.
Keen on restoring and beautifying the water bodies, the KMC top brass wrote to the state government, asking for funds under “Green City Mission”, as the civic coffers apparently did not have enough for the task. According to a civic environment official, Rs 350 crore was required for the project covering more than 300 water bodies across the city. Hakim on Saturday announced that the KMC hoped to get the special funds from the state. “We know the state won’t sanction such a huge amount at one go. We have requested the government to release the funds in phases so that the work doesn’t stop for want of money,” the KMC official said.
According to environment department records, the civic body is supposed to look after 3,500 ponds across Kolkata. “Most of the water bodies, either in our jurisdiction or of private ownership, are in Dum Dum, Cossipore, Behala, Garden Reach, Garia, Jadavpur and EM Bypass areas. More than 500 ponds off E M Bypass are in a deplorable condition,” said an environment official.
In an effort to make sure the privately owned water bodies were refularly cleaned and dredged, the environment department and Project Management Unit (PMU) started taking over their management since 2005. “In the past 15 years, we have taken over the management of 100 ponds. The process is still on and we may take over more in future,” said a senior KMC official. Hakim expressed his dissatisfaction during talk-to-mayor sessions over the negligence towards water bodies.
Source: Times of India