Thursday, June 30

New Kolkata municipal corporation department to protect waterbodies

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The Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) will soon constitute a separate department that will look into illegal filling of waterbodies falling under its jurisdiction.

Mayor Firhad Hakim announced this on Sunday while inspecting the condition of a waterbody in Behala’s ward number 124. He had received complaints that the pond in the locality was causing inconvenience to the residents of the area, with garbage and litter being dumped on its banks.

“I had received a message and then a complaint regarding the condition of the pond. So, I decided visit the spot and chalk out a plan to protect the pond. We are setting up an additional department that will ensure protection of waterbodies,” Hakim said.

The mayor said that a website would also be introduced that will have a complete database on the condition and status of all waterbodies in the KMC area. “We will launch a website — ‘Ponds and Waterbodies of Kolkata’ — that will have all detail as to where ponds are located and their condition. This will help preserve waterbodies as we often receive complaints with people saying that they have bought plots that once used to be ponds,” Hakim added.

Hakim said that the pond that he inspected would be renovated and beautified following long-standing demands by the locals. “I am also urging the residents not to dump garbage in the pond. The overall look of the waterbody will change very soon,” the mayor said.

He instructed the civic officials to make a pathway beside the pond and fence it off with a grille. A few vats will also be placed around the pond to prevent rubbish being thrown into the water.

Green warriors had a mixed reaction on the KMC’s plan to protect waterbodies. Activist Subhas Dutta said that about 75% of waterbodies had already been filled up. “There should be specific provision in the KMC Act that building plan in converted waterbodies will not be sanctioned. There should be proper survey and amendment in the KMC Act in its regard,” Dutta said.

SAFE chair Dipayan Dey said that it was a good initiative by the KMC authorities to preserve waterbodies. “The public should get access to the proposed website. There are about 42 heritage waterbodies in the city. It will be good if a special status could also be given to them. It would be effective if the website database is managed by a scientific steering committee. A helpline should also be there so that people can contact KMC to whenever there’s illegal filling of waterbodies,” he said.

“It is a good initiative by the mayor and it comes at a time when complaints of illegal filling of waterbodies are pouring in almost everyday,” said Naba Dutta, secretary of Sabuj Mancha.


Source: Times of India

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