Jul 4: Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat discussed implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission in Himachal Pradesh with Chief Minister Shri Jairam Thakur through video conferencing. Government of India accords top priority to assured basic services to the people living in rural areas of the country with focus on improving their living standard. Drinking water supply is a service delivery, wherein the quantity, quality of water supplied and periodicity of water supply has to be ensured for which Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) is under implementation. The objective of the Mission is universal coverage and emphasis is on the principle of ‘equity and inclusiveness’ i.e. every family in the village gets tap water connection in their household and none is left behind.
Himachal Pradesh is planning 100% coverage by August, 2022, ahead of national goal by 2024. By doing so, Himachal Pradesh will be one of the leading states to accomplish the ambitious target of providing tap connection to each rural household. In this context, the central Minister had a discussion with the State CM and the CM assured of faster execution of rural drinking water supply works in the State so as to achieve the target in time-bound manner.
Appreciating the progress made so far in providing household tap connections in the State, Union Minister emphasized on preparation of Village Action Plans as well as constitution of village water and sanitation committee/ Paani Samiti as a sub-committee of Gram Panchayat with minimum 50% of women members, responsible for planning, designing, implementing and operating & maintaining of in-village water supply infrastructure. All villages have to prepare Village Action Plan (VAP) which essentially will comprise of development/ augmentation of drinking water sources, water supply, grey-water management and operation and maintenance component.
Shri Shekhawat discussed various aspects of operation & maintenance of water supply systems and the role of local community. He urged the CM to plan for gravity based and spring-shed based water supply systems for long-term sustainability. It was further highlighted to train 5 persons in every village, especially 5 women for use of field test kits-based testing of water supplied at village level.
Out of 17.04 lakh rural households in the State of Himachal Pradesh, 9.52 lakh (55.87%) are already provided with FHTCs. Out of the remaining 7.52 lakh households, Himachal Pradesh plans to provide tap connections in 2.44 lakh households during 2020-21. During this year, the State is planning to provide tap connections to all households in 4,313 villages out of total 17,250 villages.
In 2020-21, Rs. 326.20 Crore have been allocated and including State share there is assured availability of Rs. 371 Crore. State is eligible for additional allocation based on physical and financial performance. Since Himachal Pradesh has been allocated Rs. 429 Crore under 15th Finance Commission Grants to PRIs and 50% of it is to be used for water supply and sanitation, Central minister requested the CM to plan for utilizing this fund for rural water supply, grey-water treatment and reuse and most importantly for ensuring long-term operation and maintenance of water supply schemes.
It’s the endeavour of the Government to provide tap connections in rural households on priority basis during prevailing CoVid-19 situation, so that rural people don’t have to go through the hardship of fetching water from public stand-posts.