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The first water supply scheme came up in 1890


GUWAHATI, Feb 25 � The first water supply scheme of Guwahati came up in 1890 with its treatment plant located atop the hillock where the old Deputy Commissioner (DC) Bungalow of Kamrup was located in Panbazar area of the city, said noted writer and expert on old Guwahati Kumudeswar Hazarika.

Hazarika, who was speaking to this correspondent, said that this scheme became too small to quench the thirst of all the Guwahatians of that time. Therefore, a new and big water supply scheme was taken up. The new scheme was located at Satpukhuri, near the present day Raj Bhawan. And around 1903, this scheme was completed.

At that time, public taps, besides the individual household taps, were installed by the side of some important roads.

In the 1930s, abundant amount of water was made available by the municipal water supply schemes to the residents of Uzanbazar, Panbazar, Fancy Bazar, Lakhtokia, Machkhowa and Bharalumukh areas. This led to misuse of water and the authorities were compelled to install water meters for the household consumers.

But there was a dearth of competent meter readers in the municipality and hence the meters became redundant after about two years, that is � around 1932, said Hazarika.

While talking about Guwahati water supply scheme, the name of late Lakshminath Das, the father-in-law of renowned poet Nabakanta Barua, comes up automatically. Late das, a first class MSc in Mathematics from Calcutta University and a DABS Scholar, was the first Indian superintendent of a Guwahati Water Supply Scheme. He served the Guwahati Water Supply Scheme as its superintendent between the 1920s and the 1970s.

The Jubilee Park water treatment plant of the Panbazar Water Supply Scheme was completed in the early 1960s.

�There was no water scarcity in Guwahati till the shifting of the State capital to it. Moreover, till the 1980s, the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) used to supply water, through its pipe water schemes, twice a day,� said Hazarika.

It needs mention here that when the East India Company occupied Guwahati in 1824, there were around 300 small and big tanks and many individual households had kutcha wells. Those tanks and wells wee the sources of water required by the then Guwahatians to meet their domestic needs.

However, the East India Company official found the tank and well waters of Guwahati to be very unhygienic and hence they had done away with the dirtiest tanks, said the noted writer.

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