Agartala civic body to crack down on ‘water thieves’

May 5th, 2009 - 5:44 pm ICT by IANS  

Agartala, May 5 (IANS) Faced with a serious water crisis the past few months, the Agartala civic body has decided to crack down on “water thieves” and has “identified” 12 people, including a police official, a professor, doctors and senior bureaucrats, for the “crime”, an official said Tuesday.
“Four task forces of the municipal council are on a combing operation in the city against those who illegally tap water by using mechanised pumps,” said Kiran Gitte, chief executive officer of the Agartala Municipal Council.

He told reporters: “The task forces during the past two days have seized 12 illegally commissioned motor pumps from the houses of a police deputy inspector general, university professor, doctors, senior officials among others.”

According to the law, the court can punish those who illegally tap water with a jail term for two to five years and cash fine of Rs.2,000.

Gitte said a massive campaign would be launched against illegal tapping of water, misuse of water and also keeping construction materials and other private assets on the roads and government lands.

The land-locked Tripura has been facing a serious water crisis as most major rivers and rivulets pssing through the state have dried up.

Badal Chowdhury, Tripura minister for drinking water and sanitation, had announced a major project for tackling the water crisis. “The state government has taken up an ambitious Rs.6.20 billion project to meet the water crisis in the capital city and its outskirts,” Chowdhury said recently.

He said the Asian Development Bank (ADB) would invest Rs.13.71 billion for developing urban amenities and solid waste management in the capitals of five under-developed northeastern states.

“The ADB-assisted North Eastern Region Urban Development Programme would be implemented over six years and would cover Agartala (Tripura), Shillong (Meghalaya), Aizawl in Mizoram, Kohima in Nagaland and Gangtok in Sikkim.”

“The central government has approved the ADB-assisted programme,” Chowdhury added.

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