June 16: Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Shekhawat in his letter to Chief Minister of Tripura Shri Biplab Kumar Deb expressed his happiness that the State has planned to provide 100% Functional Household Tap Connection by 2023 under Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM). JJM plans to improve the lives of people by providing safe drinking water to every rural household in the country through functional household tap connections (FHTCs) by 2024.
Out of 8.01 lakh households in the State, only 7.63% households have been provided with tap connections. State has to work in a planned way to achieve 100% target within the deadline. Central Minister in his letter sounded hopeful that Tripura will be able to accomplish this task of providing 100% FHTCs by 2023. The State has to accelerate the work of providing piped water supply to every household. This will bring an end to the decades of toil and hardships of the women, especially girls. The Jal Shakti Minister expressed optimism that expeditious implementation of JJM will ensure that people living in rural areas will get potable water in adequate quantity, of prescribed quality on regular basis in their households on long-term basis and ensuring dignified life of our mothers & sisters.
Union Government is committed to provide all assistance to the State Government to achieve this goal. Under the Mission, funds are provided by Government of India based on the output in terms of FHTCs provided and the utilization of available central and matching state share. The Minister flagged few issues which need urgent attention of the State. In 2019-20, against the target of 1.66 lakh households, the State provided only 45,769 household tap connections. In 2019-20, the State was allocated with ₹107.64 Crore and the entire amount was released along with additional incentive fund of Rs ₹37.73 Crore. However, the State could utilize only ₹ 59.45 Crore of central fund.
Shri Shekhawat reiterated that providing potable water to every household is a national priority. In this context, for the year 2020-21, the fund allocation to Tripura has been increased from ₹107.64 Crore to ₹156.61 Crore. With opening balance of ₹ 136.45 Crore available with the State and along with this year’s allocation of ₹156.61 Crore, and considering the State matching share, a total of ₹320.16 Crore will be available for implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission in Tripura.
The Minister requested the CM to review, plan and implement the water supply schemes in a time-bound manner. For that, State has to focus on augmentation and retrofitting of existing Piped Water Supply schemes, by which 100% saturation of villages can be done in least possible time. The Minister urged the State to complete this work in a ‘campaign mode’ for the next 4-6 months and enable the households of poor and marginalised sections of society with tap connections. Also, priority should be given on saturating villages in water scarce areas and aspirational districts, SC/ ST dominant villages/ habitations & villages under Sansad Adarsh Gramin Yojana.
Emphasizing on the importance of water sources for long-term sustainability of water supply systems, Union Minister advised for strengthening of 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 viz. MGNREGS, SBM, 15th Finance Commission Grants to PRIs, CAMPA funds, Local Area Development Funds, etc.
It has been 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. In all villages, IEC campaign along with community mobilization needs to be taken up to make Jal Jeevan Mission truly a people’s movement.
In 2020-21, Tripura has been allocated ₹ 191 Crore as 15th Finance Commission Grants to PRIs and 50% of this amount is mandatorily to be utilized for water supply & sanitation. Funds provided under Swachh Bharat Mission (G) is to be utilized for grey water treatment and reuse works.
The letter of Union Minister 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 don’t crowd public stand-posts/ public water sources. 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.
Minister of Jal Shakti assured the CM of Tripura of his full support to make the State a ‘100% FHTCs State’ by 2023 and intends to discuss the planning and implementation of JJM with the CM through video conferencing soon.