Shri Subrata Mukherjee
Public Health Engineering Department
Government of West Bengal
7th Floor , New Secretariat Building
1, K. S. Roy Road, Kolkata – 700001
Supply of drinking water in rural areas is made primarily through the State Plan resources and through Central Assistance under the National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP). The National Rural Drinking Water Programme, launched by Govt. of India from 01.04.2009, aims at ensuring permanent drinking water security in all the rural habitations of the State. 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 capita per day) in rural West Bengal. The total cost for the long term comprehensive drinking water supply action programme along with water conservation under this Vision 2020 has been estimated at Rs. 21,125.00 Crores only. Further to ensure drinking water security, emphasis has been laid on piped water supply schemes with an objective to complete shift from hand pump tube-wells to pipes water supply schemes in a phased manner, with provision for house to house connection.
Drinking water safety is also a major concern for this department. The ground water in this state is contaminated with Arsenic, Fluoride, Salinity and Iron. Due to continuous endeavor it is expected that the entire arsenic affected area of rural Bengal will be covered with safe water supply by implementation of an Arsenic Mitigation Master Plan. Some of Mega piped water supply projects like Falta-Mathurapur Piped water supply in saline and arsenic affected areas of district South 24 Parganas which is aimed to benefit a design population of 32.89 Lakh at a sanctioned cost of Rs. 1,332.41 Crores has been taken up. Likewise, Bankura piped water supply project (Phase–I and Phase–II) aimed to benefit a total design population of 46.00 Lakh at a sanctioned cost of Rs. 1,011.12 Crores and Rs. 1238.40 Crores respectively, and Purulia Piped Water Supply Project with the assistance of JICA Japan aimed to benefit a design population of 15.14 Lakh at a sanctioned cost of Rs. 1,017.90 Crores both in Fluoride affected areas have been taken up during the last few years. In Jangalmahal Areas Eco-friendly solar power based water supply systems have been successfully taken up and the same model is going to be replicated throughout the state to save conventional energy. Almost all the source-less schools have already provisioned with safe drinking water, and all the Anganwari centers in Govt. premises will be covered very soon. Social mobilization has been made across all districts through mass meeting on best practices and linkages of health and sanitation covering crores of people.
First time Govt. of West Bengal has started production of package drinking water bottles named “PRANDHARA” through automated plants to supply purified drinking water during Natural Disasters, Public Gathering etc. Moreover, this package drinking water now being sold in market particularly in Govt. hospitals at a cost cheaper than the popular brands. PHED has also undertaken installation of Water ATMs, an innovative project, in different school premises in North 24 Parganas district, which can dispense one liter of purified water against an affordable cost.