20-28 lakh people face water crisis in Bengal: Minister

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Kolkata, May 11 (IANS) Between 20 and 28 lakh people are facing water crisis in the western districts of West Bengal following a drought-like situation caused by lack of rains, a senior state minister said here on Wednesday.

“There has been no rainfall for a long time. This has precipitated a water crisis. There is scarcity of drinking water. The situation is still not alarming. But we are taking pre-emptive steps to ensure people do not face major hardships,” Public Health Engineering Minister Subrata Mukherjee told mediapersons.

He said “20-28 lakh people” are facing the problem. “The problem is more acute in the West Midnapore and Purulia districts, though there are very few areas where there is no water.”

Asking people not to panic, Mukherjee said his department, the zilla parishads, and other offices were working together to tackle the situation.

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Mukherjee said the offices of the district magistrates have also been alerted.

“We are taking both short-term and long-term measures,” he said.

The minister said a large number of submersible pumps are being installed in the affected regions.

He said it was up to the state government to decide on declaring the affected areas as drought-affected.

“My department cannot do that on its own,” Mukherjee said.



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