New Delhi: Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has complimented the Chief Minister of Punjab, Captain Amarinder Singh for taking steps to provide tap connections to all rural households by March, 2020. In his letter he thanked the Chief Minister for showing his commitment towards the ethos of Jal Jeevan Mission.
Minister expressed optimism that the State will not only provide remaining households with tap connections, but potable water service delivery in adequate quantity of prescribed quality on regular & long-term basis will be ensured to all households as envisaged under the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM).
Minister stressed that funds to the State is provided by Government of India based on output in terms of number of FHTCs provided and utilization of funds. To that effect in 2019-20, Punjab was allocated and provided Rs. 227.46 Crore as Central share, out of which the State could utilize only Rs. 73.27 Crore. With opening balance of Rs. 257 Crore along with allocation of Rs. 362.79 Crore in 2020-21, Punjab has assured availability of Rs. 619.89 Crore Central fund. With State’s matching share, Rs. 1,239.78 Crore will be available under Jal Jeevan Mission to provide tap connections to families in rural areas of Punjab in 2020-21.
Union Minister requested the State to expedite the planning and implementation, in order to ensure that every household is provided with tap connections by March, 2022. He impressed upon the CM to focus on retrofitting/ augmentation of existing water supply systems in villages to provide household tap connections to the remaining households, mostly belonging to poorer section of the society. He urged the CM to provide remaining households with tap connections in next 4–6 months in a ‘campaign mode’ to provide 14 lakh tap connections by taking up augmentation and retrofitting of such schemes and these villages can become ‘Har Ghar Jal Gaon’. While planning, priority should be given on saturating villages in water scarce areas and aspirational districts, & villages covered under Sansad Adarsh Gramin Yojana.
Since, potable water supply to water quality-affected habitations is a top priority under JJM and in the light of interim order of National Green Tribunal, Union Minister requested the CM to ensure piped water supply to all households in Arsenic and Fluoride affected habitations before December, 2020. In case, potable water piped connections cannot be ensured before December, 2020, as an interim measure potable water @ 8-10 lpcd for drinking and cooking purpose is to be provided by installing community water purification plants (CWPP).
Keeping the 73rd Constitutional Amendment, Jal Jeevan Mission mandates that local village community/ Gram Panchayats and or its sub-committee/ user groups are involved in planning, implementation, management, operation and maintenance of water supply systems in villages to ensure long-term sustainability of water supply schemes to achieve drinking water security.
In 2020-21, under 15th FC Grants to PRIs, Rs.1,388 Crore is allocated to the State, 50% of which is to be spent mandatorily on water and sanitation The State has been requested to utilize all available resources through convergence of various programmes like MGNREGS, SBM (G), 15th Finance Commission Grants to PRIs, CAMPA, CSR Fund, Local Area Development Fund, etc. for water supply works at village level and Village Action Plan of every village is to be prepared by dovetailing all such resources.
In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic situation, issue of drinking water gains prominence. At present, there is perhaps no higher priority but to ensure citizens have access to clean water for drinking and multifarious domestic uses. A tap at home will not only help practicing social distancing, but will also ensure better hygiene and hand-washing routine. Besides, the State will also help its local people and migrant workers in providing them with employment through Jal Jeevan Mission.