Assam govt met only 5% tap water connection target for households last year: Shekhawat

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on June 05, 2020

The BJP government in Assam has managed to provide less than 5 per cent tap water connections in the State during the previous financial year under Jal Jeevan Mission, a pet project of the Narendra Modi government to provide piped water to all households in the country by 2024.

Against the target of providing tap connections to 12.45 lakh households, Assam has been able to cover only 48,852 households in 2019-20, said Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat expressing concern over the tardy progress. The Assam government was allocated ₹694.34 crore of which the State spent ₹392.36 crore.

In a letter to the State Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Shekhawat said there is a need to review the planning and implementation strategy for water supply schemes in the State to expedite physical progress and improve fund utilisation, in the wake of the government’s failure to utilise the funds.

However, Shekhawat said the funding for the State would be increased to ₹1,407 crore this fiscal from ₹694.34 crore in 2020-21 and combined with the opening balance of ₹440 crore and minimum state matching fund of 10 per cent, the State will have a total of ₹2,053 crore for the current financial year.

Strengthen sources

The Minister said the Chief Minister should pay heed to the poor and marginalised sections of the society while planning and they need to be prioritised for tap connections. The State should strengthen existing drinking water sources for long-term sustainability of drinking water supply systems. The planning should be done at village level and Village Action Plan (VAP) of every village is to be prepared by dovetailing all available resources by convergence of different programmes, he said.

He further stressed that local village community/ Gram Panchayats and or user groups need to be involved in planning, implementation, management, operation and maintenance of water supply systems in villages.

In the wake of Covid–19 pandemic, it is important that people don’t crowd public stand-posts/public water sources. Taking up water supply works in all villages to provide household level tap connections will help in practising social distancing. In addition, this would provide employment to locals and migrants as well boost rural economy, Shekhawat said.

The Jal Shakti Ministry also approved funds worth ₹572.23 crore to Jharkhand, where only 4.37 lakh out of 54 lakh households currently have piped water connection. The State which utilised ₹267.69 crore last year was able to give 98,000 water connections last year, the statement said.

With opening balance of ₹201 crore available with the State and along with this year’s allocation, Jharkhand has assured availability of ₹773.28 crore as Central fund. Considering the State matching share, a total of ₹1,605.31 crore will be available under Jal Jeevan Mission to provide tap connections to families in rural areas in the State, the statement added.

Published on June 05, 2020

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