BJD MP seeks stringent laws against illegal filling of ponds

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New Delhi, Mar 15 (PTI) BJD MP Subhash Chandra Singh on Monday sought stringent laws to curb illegal filling of ponds with soil and demanded that a provision be made for water connection in budget for toilet under the Swachh Bharat Mission.

He also suggested that the Centre should spend more on the construction of small dams to check flow of rain water into rivers.

'Waterlogging is big problem in urban areas. Even after direction of the Supreme Court, builders don't leave ponds. There is need for stringent laws on this,' Singh said during a discussion on the working of the Jal Shakti Ministry in Rajya Sabha.

'Small dam is priority. Therefore, budget allocation should be increased,' Singh said.

He said 10,11,64,935 latrines have been built under the Swachh Bharat Mission but the report has not come before the Standing Committee on how many of them are operational.

'None of those have water connection. There is no provision in any budget. Adding water supply in the budget provision is important,' Singh said.

Participating in the discussion, members spoke on issues like conservation of water resources, need for rejuvenation of water bodies, interlinking of rivers, losses due to floods in Bihar, and delay in completion of the Polavaram project in Andhra Pradesh.

M Shanmugam of the DMK said although the Cauvery Delta was known as the granary of the South, unfortunately Tamil Nadu was suffering due to denial of its share of water.

Highlighting that it is proposed to divert the flood water from the Cauvery to drought-prone districts for the benefit of the people, he urged the central government to accord technical clearance and financial support to the project.

He called for a mechanism to regulate and control the development of ground water resources in the country, and urges the Minister of Water Resources to pay more attention to rejuvenation water bodies in Tamil Nadu.

Subhas Chandra Bose Pilli of the YSRCP said a sum of Rs 69,053 crore was allocated to the Ministry of Jal Shakti in 2021-22, a 64 per cent rise in actual expenditure over 2019-20. He observed that the focus of the increased expenditure was on drinking water, in line with the government's agenda to provide functional tap water to all households by 2024.

Sukhram Singh Yadav of the SP said the government should accord highest priority to the conservation of water resources.

Ram Chandra Prasad Singh of the JDU spoke about the floods in north Bihar causing an annual loss of Rs 30,000 to Rs 40,000 crore. Referring to the high dam construction treaty with Nepal, he called for setting up of a fund till the dam is constructed to tide over the losses suffered by the state.

Manoj Kumar Jha of the RJD emphasised the need for interlinking of rivers.

Praful Patel of the NCP stressed that low-cost, long-term funding was needed for water projects underway in various states.

K Ravindra Kumar of the TDP urged the government to expedite completion of the Polavaram project in Andhra Pradesh and ensure that adequate compensation to the affected people is provided at the earliest.

Shaktisinh Gohil of the Congress claimed that even after five years since the start of the Pradhanmantri Sinchai Yojana, 58 per cent of the projects under the scheme are still listed as 'ongoing projects'.

He alleged that the command area of the Narmada was being reduced and given away to industrialists.

BJP MP from UP Kanta Kardam said that the previous government did not bother about cleaning rivers and dirty waters flowing into rivers remained unchecked.

TRS MP Banda Prakash said that the government of India has appreciated the work of Telangana in several water projects but never helped the state government with funding. PTI RSN PRS SMN SMN