Har Ghar Jal should be society-driven programme: Jal Shakti Minister

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Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on Wednesday called for making ‘Har Ghar Jal’ a society-driven and not engineer-driven programme.

“States/UTs must give preference to single-village gravity-based schemes as these are affordable, sustainable, and economical in operation and maintenance in the long-run. The cost component should be thoroughly checked as we formulate detailed project reports for schemes under the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM),” he said as he chaired a Regional Conference of six states at Kolkata to review the progress made under JJM and Swachh Bharat Mission-Grameen (SBM-G) of those states.

Shekhawat assured that “there is no dearth of funds for implementation of two-flagship programmes of the government”. For 2022-23, Rs 14,449 crore has been allocated as Central grant to the six participating states for ensuring 100 per cent tap water connectivity and sustaining ODF and solid and liquid waste management in villages, he said.

When JJM was launched by the Prime Minister on August 15, 2019, only 17 per cent rural households had access to tap water connection. Despite disruptions and lockdown in the last two and a half years, India has managed to provide clean drinking water to more than 5.91 crore tap water connections and 47.39 per cent of households in villages.

Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Prahlad Singh Patel said: “Water testing laboratories at district-level need to be strengthened so as to ensure the quality of water supplied in every household and public institution. It is very essential that we ensure the quality of water and the pipe through which water flows.”

For 2022-23 under JJM, Rs 13,105 crore has been tentatively allocated by the Centre for six states – Rs 2,699 crore to Bihar, Rs 1,308 crore to Chhattisgarh, Rs 1,643 crore to Jharkhand, Rs 201 crore to Mizoram, Rs 2,036 crore to Odisha, and Rs 5,218 crore to West Bengal.

Under SBM (G), Rs 1,344.71 crore has been tentatively allocated for these states – Bihar (Rs 499.50 crore), Chhattisgarh (Rs 149.88 crore), Jharkhand (Rs 109.19 crore), Mizoram (Rs 10.74 crore), Odisha (Rs 213.71 crore) and West Bengal (Rs 361.69 crore), a release from the Ministry of Jal Shakti said.

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