Jul 7: Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat held discussion with Chief Minister of Assam, Shri Sarbananda Sonowal regarding implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission in the State through video conferencing today. Government of India is committed to provide 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 the flagship programme Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) is under implementation. The objective of the Mission is universal coverage i.e. every family in the village gets tap water connection in their households.
Assam is planning 100% coverage by 2024 to accomplish the ambitious target of providing tap connection to every rural household of the State. In this context, the central Minister had a detailed discussion on the progress of the Mission in the State with the CM. The CM assured expeditious implementation of the Mission in the State so as to achieve the target of providing household tap connections in rural areas in time-bound manner.
Emphasizing the importance of the Mission to improve the lives of rural people, Shri Shekhawat stressed on retrofitting and augmentation of existing water supply schemes and urged to start this work in campaign mode to provide household tap connections from existing public stand-posts. He further requested to commence the water supply works so as to provide employment to returnee migrants. The CM was requested to give undivided focus to provide safe drinking water in 3,881 Arsenic and Fluoride affected habitations of the State by December 2020. It was also requested to provide piped water supply to 14,725 villages in 10 JE/ AES affected districts.
Shri Shekhawat reiterated the commitment of Union Government to provide all assistance to the State to achieve this goal. For Jal Jeevan Mission, funds are provided by Government of India based on the output in terms of tap connections provided and the utilization of available central and matching state share. Minister of Jal Shakti assured Assam CM of his full support to make the State a ‘100% FHTCs’ State.
Out of 63.35 lakh rural households in the State of Assam, only 1.72 lakh are provided with tap connections. Assam plans to provide tap connections in 13.15 lakh households during 2020-21.
In 2020-21, ₹1,407 Crore have been allocated and including State share there is assured availability of ₹2,072 Crore. State is eligible for additional allocation based on physical and financial performance. Since Assam has been allocated ₹ 1,604 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.
Union Minister further 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. In all villages, IEC campaign along with community mobilization needs to be taken up to make Jal Jeevan Mission truly a people’s movement.
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.