Bhubaneswar, Jun 21 (PTI) Voicing concern over tardy progress of Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) in Odisha, Union minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has asked the state government to ensure expeditious implementation of the programme for which the Centre has approved Rs 812 crore this year.
In a letter to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, the Union Jal Shakti minister affirmed the Centres commitment to provide all support to the state government in execution of JJM, which aims to improve the lives of rural people by providing safe drinking water to every rural household through Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTCs) by 2024.
Highlighting the target lapses and insufficient utilisation of funds by the state, the Union minister in his letter said that in 2019-20, against the target of 15.61 lakh, only 4.37 lakh (27.97 per cent) households were provided with tap connections in the state. This resulted in low utilization of funds.
Odisha was allocated Rs 364.74 crore in 2019-20, of which the state could only utilise Rs 275.02 crore. Since the state was unable to utilize the funds fully, the union minister has requested the chief minister to review the planning and implementation strategy for water supply schemes, so as to expedite physical progress and improve fund utilization.
For this mission, the funds are provided to states based on the output in terms of FHTCs provided and the utilization of available Central and matching state share.
Shekhawat in his letter stressed on how providing potable water to every household is a national priority and to take the mission forward in a seamless way the fund allocation to Odisha is increased from Rs 364.74 crore to Rs 812.15 crore in 2020-21, ministry sources said.
Along with the unspent balance of Rs 90 crore, this year Central allocation of Rs 812 crore and with the matching state share, Odisha will have Rs 1,805 crore for implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission in 2020-21.
The Union minister was hopeful that the state will provide matching share along with the Central fund on timely basis to the implementing department for this programme, which will help to achieve the target of 100 per cent tap connection in rural areas.
Further, Shekhawat has requested for robust planning for time bound delivery with focus on retrofitting and augmentation of existing water supply systems in 21,516 villages, so that poor and marginalised people in these villages get tap connections immediately.
The state was suggested to take up this work in a campaign mode in these villages to achieve the target. While planning, priority is to be given on saturation of villages in water scarce areas, water quality-affected areas, aspirational districts, SC/ST dominated villages/ habitations, villages under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana and PVTG habitations.
It was further emphasized 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 to ensure long-term sustainability to achieve drinking water security.
The Union minister urged for strengthening of existing drinking water sources for long-term sustainability of drinking water supply systems.
The Union Ministers letter is well-timed, considering the prevailing COVID-19 pandemic situation. This is a time to instil behavioural changes in the masses to help them practice social distancing as well as expedite the water supply works.
It is important that people do not crowd public stand-posts/ public water sources, a Jal Shakti ministry statement said.
Therefore, water supply work needs to be taken up in all villages to provide household tap connections, which will help the locals and migrants in getting employment and will boost the rural economy, it added. PTI SKN RG RG