breaking news E

Mr. Gajendra Singh Shekhawat was reviewing the implementation of the Jal Jeevan Mission in Rajasthan state with 17 MPs, PHED minister, and officials.

India: The Union Jal Shakti Minister of India, Mr. Gajendra Singh Shekhawat chaired a review meeting on Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) yesterday in Jaipur with 17 Members of Parliament (MPs) of Rajasthan and PHED officials to expedite the implementation of the mission in the State.

All Executive Engineers/ Superintendent Engineers were connected virtually. The meeting began with a welcome address by ACS, PHED, Rajasthan followed by a brief presentation by Additional Secretary and Mission Director, National Jal Jeevan Mission, who shared the mission overview and status of implementation of works in the various districts of the State in comparison with the national average. He also explained the status of planning as well as the role of Members of Parliament in the implementation of the mission.

Thanking all the Members of Parliament of Rajasthan for their active participation in the day-long review meeting, the Union Minister, Jal Shakti appreciated their concerns as well as valuable suggestions to bring improvement in the pace of implementation of the mission along with ensuring the quality of works. Mentioning various life-changing initiatives of the Government of India to improve the lives of the people especially the poor and marginalized communities ensuring ‘no one is left out, he underscored the importance of the Jal Jeevan Mission in the context of a state like Rajasthan.

Mr. Shekhawat mentioned that community participation and empowerment are the souls of the mission which will lead to its success. Therefore, the State must make all-out efforts to involve the local village community in the mission works starting from the preparation of the Village Action Plan (VAP). He urged the State Government to ensure the participation of all the Members of Parliament to make Jal Jeevan Mission a ‘Jan Andolan’, a people’s movement.

Mr. Shekhawat appealed to all senior officers to give primacy to the quality of work by ensuring regular inspection and taking corrective measures. He assured there will be no dearth of funds from the Government of India and extended all assistance to ensure the State becomes ‘Har Ghar Jal’ in a time-bound manner. He further invited the State PHED Minister and senior officers to approach him whenever required regarding resolving any issue pertaining to the drinking water supply in the State.

Lastly, he focused on improving the drinking water sources so that the water supply to rural households is not disrupted. He stressed exploring convergence by dovetailing various schemes at the village level for source sustainability, viz. MGNREGS, 15th FC tied grants, DMDF, etc.

In his remarks, Minister, PHED, Rajasthan mentioned the geographical challenge faced by the state in ensuring sustainable tap water supply and the remoteness of several habitations called ‘dhaanis’, which are smaller in size. He further told that the state needs to improve the pace of implementation of the mission while ensuring the quality of work.

Out of 105.69 lakh rural households in the State, only 11.74 lakh had provision of tap water supply in their homes during the launch of the mission in August 2019, which has increased to 25.61 lakh HHs (24.23%) so far. About Rs. 11,000 Crore has been allocated as a Central grant to the State under Jal Jeevan Mission in 2022-23. Further, Rs. 1,774 Crore is available to the State as the 15th Finance Commission tied grant to RLBs/ PRIs for drinking water and sanitation. The State plans to provide tap water connections to 32.64 lakh rural households in 2022-23, for which the Annual Action Plan has been approved by the Ministry of Jal Shakti.

The MPs shared their views and concerns about the progress of works in their respective constituencies, quality of works that needs immediate attention, quality of water supply to be improved, regular water supply, involvement of local community especially Gram Panchayat/ Village Water and Sanitation Committees starting from planning, implementation, and monitoring to ensure the quality of works, topmost priorities to be accorded for the sustainability of the source for smaller schemes, proper water allocation for multi village schemes/ major projects, etc. In addition, they also highlighted issues like a mismatch between the number of households in the plan vs field, work not initiated in most of the villages, non-finalization of district action plans, speedy planning for the inaccessible areas where individual tap connections seem to be very difficult, especially in desert areas of Jaisalmer, Barmer, Jodhpur, Pali, etc.

The MPs also urged the State Government to ensure participation of all Members of Parliament starting from planning to monitoring for effective and quality implementation of the mission so that the goal of this ambitious program is achieved. It was also unanimously shared that every worksite must have a display board at conspicuous locations giving details of the water supply work including the cost estimate, no. of tap connections to be provided, contact details of the vendor, PHED engineer, GP/ VWSC chairperson, etc. It was also suggested that both for running as well as final bill payment, a joint inspection be made by the third party agency along with the representative of GP/ VWSC. There was a demand for making provision of water supply for livestock as Rajasthan has the highest cattle population in the country. They also emphasized the need for certification of ‘Har Ghar Jal’ villages by convening Gram Sabhas and taking resolution that every household, as well as the public institution of the village, has been provided with the tap water supply.

Additional Chief Secretary, PHED, Rajasthan assured that the state team will work to ensure every rural household in the state is provided tap water supply.

© Smart Water & Waste World. Send us your editorial contributions at mayur@smartwww.in