India: Chhattisgarh State has presented its Annual Action Plan for 2020-21 for consideration and approval of the Ministry of Jal Shakti. Significantly, Jal Jeevan Mission launched under the Ministry of Jal Shakti is aimed to provide adequate potable drinking water of prescribed quality on a regular and long-term basis to every rural household of the country by 2024. A budget of whopping Rs 3.60 lakh Crore has been allocated for this scheme.
Under this life-changing Mission, Chhattisgarh State has planned to have 100% Functional Tap Water Connection (FHTC) by 2023-24. Out of 45 lakh households in the State, it’s planned to provide tap connections to 20 lakh households. While planning for universal coverage of households, priority is being given to water-scarce areas, quality-affected areas, SC/ ST dominated habitations/ villages, aspirational districts, Sansad Adarsh Gramin Yojana villages. Govt of India has approved Rs 445 Crore for implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission in the State in 2020-21.
The state is laying emphasis on water quality monitoring and surveillance. Chhattisgarh has been battling with the issue of rapid groundwater depletion and chemical contamination of Arsenic, Fluoride, Iron, etc. in water for many years; thus, taking cognizance of the situation the state was advised to ensure the provision of potable water in these habitations. Under Jal Jeevan Mission, the emphasis is being given on water quality surveillance through active participation of frontline functionaries as well as involving the community. School and college students are being encouraged to use the Field Test Kits to test the quality of water being provided in rural areas.
In every Gram Panchayat, GP or their sub-committee i.e. Village Water & Sanitation Committees have been constituted for planning at the village level. Village Action Plans have been carried out for villages, based on which the action plan has been finalized. The state is ensuring convergence of funds from various sources like MGNREGS, 15th Finance Commission Grants to rural local bodies, SBM, etc. for taking up works related to the strengthening of water resources, aquifer recharge, greywater management, etc.
It’s the endeavor of the Government to provide tap connections in rural households on a priority basis during prevailing COVID-19 situations, so that rural people don’t have to go through the hardship of fetching water from public stand-posts and standing in a long queue. The government intends that the poor and marginalized sections of the society get water through tap connections inside their house premises and avoid going to standposts and ensuring social distancing, thereby keeping the rural communities safe from being infected.
With summers in full swing, monsoons approaching, and country grappling with COVID-19 pandemic, it has become more imperative to provide a livelihood to the migrant workers who have returned to their native villages. These migrant laborers are basically skilled and semi-skilled ones, whose services could be effectively utilized in villages by providing jobs related to water supply especially plumbing, fitting, water conservation works, etc. in every village to ensure sufficient groundwater availability leading to water security, water availability for agriculture and most importantly will help in the provision of drinking water to every rural household.
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