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Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) was created as an independent full-fledged Department in 1987. The Department controls the Water Supply & Sanitation Budget of the State Government and undertakes programs of implementation of water supply services mainly through Public Health Engineering Directorate under its administrative control.

The main activities of PHED are now related to Rural and Urban Water Supply Sectors.  In the Urban Water Supply Sector, sectorial activities are mostly limited within areas of the State outside Kolkata Metropolitan Area (KMA). Moreover, PHED has to arrange for water supply and sanitation measures in fairs and festivals.  Furthermore, PHED has to carry out water supply in 91 hospitals and health institutions in the State.

PHED has to operate and maintain three Sewerage & Drainage schemes (Kalyani, Berhampur and Nabadwip) completed under Ganga Action Plan (Phase-I). Implementation of Sewerage & Drainage schemes for 4 (four) more towns has been entrusted to Public health Engineering Department. Public Health Engineering Department is continuing operation and maintenance of 21 water supply and drainage schemes belonging to other Departments.  Above all, Natural Calamities, like flood or drought, demands safe drinking water supply for the people and Public Health Engineering Department always rises to such occasion.

West Bengal is the 13th largest State among the 36 States of India with an area of 2.8% (88,752 Sq.km) of its land.  The population is the 4th highest and the population density is the highest @ 1029 people per Sq.km. (Census 2011).  The total rural population in West Bengal being 91.30 million (Census 2011) spread over 98120 nos. of habitations in 3354 nos. of GPs in 40203 nos. of villages in 341 nos. of Blocks of 20 districts of West Bengal.

The National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) effective from April 2009 expects to go beyond the habitation level coverage and ensure household level water safety and security for achieving desired Public Health objectives.  The National Vision for rural drinking water programme is by 2011, it must be ensured that every rural person has enough safe water for drinking, cooking and other domestic uses (@ 70 lpcd) within their household premises or a horizontal or vertical distance not more than 50 meter from their household without barriers of social and financial discrimination.

The challenges before the drinking water sector are the deteriorating groundwater potential, source sustainability resulting from its over extraction in large part due to irrigation demand for agriculture, water quality problems like Arsenic, Fluoride, Salinity, Iron or Bacteriological due to lack of proper sanitation in rural areas.

Over the years the investment in rural water supply sector in the State has increased many fold. From 90.57 crores in 1999-2000 (taken as bench mark) it has been increased to 1,336.32 crores in the financial year 2014-15.

Rural Water Supply

In abidance to the national vision the State has also adopted a “Vision – 2020 Plan” which envisages permanent drinking water security @ 70 lpcd (liters per capital per day) in rural West Bengal.  Further to ensure drinking water security, emphasis has been laid on piped water supply schemes with an objective to complete shift from hand pump tubewells to pipes water supply schemes in a phased manner, with provision for house to house connection. 

As on 1st April, 2015, the coverage of rural population with safe drinking water from piped water supply schemes is 48.10%.

As a part of the rural water supply programme, this Department is engaged in supplying safe drinking water to schools and Anganwadis.  Upto 31st March, 2015, total 22,913 nos. of source-less schools and 3,615 nos. of Anganwadis in Government premises have been provisioned with supply of safe drinking water either from existing water supply schemes nearby or creating a new spot source within the premises.

During the long journey of this Department, the number of commissioned piped water supply schemes all over the State has also increased from 19 in the year 1979-80 to 1783 as on 1st April, 2015.

The Department has a full-fledged Drilling Wing with most modern rig machines to sink tube wells at a lowest possible time. Every year thousands of rig bored tube wells are being sunk by the Departmental Engineers & skilled technicians all over the State.

Drinking Water Supply in Arsenic Affected Areas

To supply safe Drinking Water Supply in 79 Arsenic Affected Blocks of the State a comprehensive Arsenic master Plan was taken for implementation through various Short, Medium and Long Term measures by the State Government with assistance of Government of India (for details Please see Water Quality segment of the website). The implementation of this Master Plan is almost complete and already it has been possible to provide arsenic free drinking water to a rural population of about 148.59 lakh (up to January 2015) which is about 89.22% of the total population of the arsenic affected Blocks. All the arsenic affected villages shall be covered with safe drinking water when all the rest ongoing schemes taken up under the Master Plan are completed, which is expected within December 2015.

(For more click to Arsenic Mitigation)

Drinking Water Supply in Fluoride  Affected Areas

A comprehensive action plan on fluoride mitigationhas been prepared at an estimatedcostof 1,580.00 Crores which shall be executed in a phased mannerin 43 Fluoride affected Blocks of 7 Districts namely Birbhum, Bankura, Dakshin Dinajpur, Uttar Dinajpur, Purulia, Malda and South 24 Paraganas.  Different technologicaloptions for Fluoride treatment are being explored to treat fluoride contaminated ground water, where alternate surface water source is not available nearby.  Apart from above, sizeable nos. of piped water supply schemes have either already been commissioned in the fluoride affected districts or under process of implementation to supply fluoride free drinking water in the affected areas of the State.  

(More details Click to Fluoride Mitigation)

Water Testing Laboratories

This Department is consistently paying special attention on water quality surveillance and monitoring through existing 120 nos. of water testing laboratories. The Department is setting up 100 nos. more new water quality testing laboratories across the 18 districts of the State and an amount of 37.59 Crores has been sanctioned towards the establishment of the aforesaid new labs.

(For details click on Water Testing Laboratories)

Disaster Management

Mobile Treatment Units (MTU)

PHE Department has a very strong workforce to tackle the drinking water crisis due to disaster caused by flood or drought. PHE Department has 14 nos. of Mobile Treatment Units (MTU) in its possession which are utilized for supply safe drinking water during disaster or emergency situation.  In all the Mobile Treatment Units there is a provision of instant packaging of treated water in polythene packets and are extremely beneficial in providing and distributing safe drinking water to the suffering people during flood and other natural calamities. These packets are also disbursed to various public gatherings, melas etc.

Packaged Drinking Water Plants (PRANDHARA)

PHE Department has taken up implementation of 13 nos. of Packaged Drinking Water Plants (PRANDHARA) in different districts of West Bengal to cater to the emergency situations like drought, flood and to ensure safe drinking water to the gathering of people in different occasions like mela etc. 6 (six) such Water Bottling Plants at Dongaria (South 24 Paraganas); Haringhata (Nadia); Purbasthali (Bardhaman), Lalbag (Murshidabad), Siliguri (Darjeeling) & Barrackpore (North 24 Parganas), have already been completed and are in production process. Others are coming up very soon.

Special Achievements of PHED

Jangalmahal area

The Government has given special attention to the people of Jangalmahal area (Districts of Purulia, Bankura and Paschim Medinipur) by sanctioning 50 nos. of piped water supply schemes with an estimated cost of 141.70 Crores proposed to benefit a population of 3.14 lakh (census 2001), 47 nos. out of the afore said 50 nos. have already been commissioned.  The rest 3 (three) nos. of schemes are expected to be commissioned very soon.

Solar Power Based Dual Water Supply Schemes

704 nos. of solar power based dual water supply schemes in the IAP Districts of Bankura, Paschim Medinipur and Purulia was sanctioned previously in 2013-14 at a cost of 51.67 Crores. Most of the schemesout of the aforesaid 704 nos. have already been commissioned and expected that the rest left out schemes will be commissioned very soon. 

Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) Scheme

In Bankura district, a comprehensive water supply scheme has been taken up covering 14 blocks, namely, at a sanctioned cost of 1,011.12 Crores under special Backward Region Grant Fund (BRGF) aiming to cover a design population of 30.15 lakh.  Work at field for implementation of piped water supply schemes have been in progress.  Work forthree major surface water based water supply schemes namely – 1) Barjora-Bankura I & Bankura II water supply scheme, 2) Hirbandh-Khatra & Ranibundh water supply scheme & 3) Saltora- Chhatna water supply scheme are going on in full swing and the work for intake & water treatment plants are almost complete and it is expected that the project will be partly commissioned by August 2015.

The 2nd Phase of Bankura Water Supply Project, designed to cover rural population in 8 (eight) Blocks, namely, Mejia, Gangajalghati, Indpur, Taldangra, Joypur, Kotulpur, Patrasayar and Sonamukhi at an estimated cost of 690.74 Crores is likely to be sanctioned in 2015-16. This will mitigate the water crisis in that part of the BankuraDistrict.

JICA Aided Project

The initial work of 1st Phase of Purulia Water supply project (JICA Aided) in the district of Purulia sanctioned at an estimated cost of 1,173.10 Crores covering 9 blocks, aiming to cover a design population of 29.10 lakh have already been taken up at field.  The scheme is an externally aided project with foreign loan of 900.00 Crores from ‘Japan International Cooperation Agency – JICA (Japan)’.  Initial work of the project like shortlisting of Project Management Consultant (FMC) is over, submission of RFP document completed, technical proposals opened and Evaluation Report submitted to JICA.  Upon finalisation of these, field work shall be started in 2015.

The 2nd Phase of Purulia Water supply project at an estimated cost of 588.73 Crores to cover remaining 10 (ten) blocks of Purulia District has been proposed to Govt. of India for sanction under BRGF.

PWSS in Saline Blocks

Surface Water based Water Supply Scheme for Falta-Mathurapur & Adjoining Mouzas at an estimated cost of 1,332.41 Crore is under implementation in the District of South 24 Paraganas covering 10 (ten) nos. Saline Blocks, viz. Kulpi, Diamond Harbour – I/II, Falta, Jaynagar – II, Kultali, Magrahat – I, Mandirbazar, Mathurapur – I/ II. This will cover 32.87 lakh population.  Overall physical progress of 35% has already been achieved for this project, with expected date of partial commissioning as March 2016.

Bally-Jagachha Surface Water Based Project

Bally-Jagachha Surface Water Based Project has been taken up at an estimated cost of 150.68 Crores in quality affected blocks of Bally-Jagachha areas of Howrah District covering 6 (six) nos. of census towns covering a design population of 2.86 lakh.  A physical progress of about 30% has been achieved in 2014-15 (upto January 2015), the expected completion date is March 2016.

Panskura-II Surface Water based Water Supply Scheme

Surface Water based Water Supply Scheme for Panskura-II Block based on River Rupnarayan as source has been sanctioned at a cost of 241.72 Crores to cover 112 no. of mouzas and 1 no. Census Town in Panskura – II Block in Purba Medinipur District. The initial field work of the project has already started. 

IEC & HRD Activities by WSSO, PHED

Water Sanitation Support Organization, WSSO, an unit for providing software support components, operates under Public Health Engineering Department, PHED Government of West Bengal primarily responsible for  Human Resource Development (HRD), Information, Education & Communication (IEC), Research & Development (R&D), Integrated Management Information System (IMIS), Water Quality Monitoring & Surveillance (WQMS), Monitoring & Evaluation (M&E) aiming at generating Awareness  and capacity building on National Rural Drinking Water programme initiated by Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India to all concerned stakeholders in coordination with Panchayat & Rural Development, Govt. of West Bengal.

(For more click to WSSO, PHED)

Weeklong campaign in JE/AES affected districts

As per the direction of Ministry of Drinking Water & Sanitation , Govt. of India , a weeklong massive campaign was organized in the ten JE/AES affected districts of West Bengal covering 120 nos. affected blocks and approx. 30 lakh of population by way of using variety of Workshop Mass Media, Print Media, Social Mobilization and local folk media etc.

Special kind of intensive awareness generation programme was also organized on JE/AES in the Districts of Jalpaiguri, Alipurduar and Siliguri Sub Division after the outbreak of JE/AES in West Bengal. All together 17 highly affected blocks were covered. During the awareness drive skill development training in the field of sanitary survey, application of FTK, water source disinfection both tube well and wells were also imparted in view of making local people to become self-reliant.

Apart from these, HRD component, training for the PRI members/VWSC members were organized , particularly for the Pradhan, Uppradhan, Sanchalok and other grass root level workers like ICDS, ASHA, Swachhatadoot , VWSC members, covering three districts, 11 sub- divisions, 68 blocks, 614 GPs participants in which 3980 participants attended. 

Constant efforts are being made from WSSO for Awareness Generation in rural Bengal, Capacity Building of various stakeholders, Research & Development, Management Information System and Monitoring & Evolution work related to Water & Sanitation aspect.

Other Activities

In order to extend better facilities to the pilgrims of Ganga Sagar Mela, this Government has taken up several measure like provision of temporary accommodation, water supply facilities and fire fight arrangements, sanitation, waste water and solid waste disposal etc. during the mela days.

(For more click to Ganga Sagar Mela)