The Centre has allocated Rs 9,800 crore as a grant to the North-eastern states under the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) which will enhance living conditions of crores of people in the region, Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said on Thursday. The JJM aims at providing tap water to all households in the country by 2024.
Despite the Covid-19 pandemic and related disruptions, the government could provide 4.87 crore new tap water connections during the last 23 months as compared to 3.23 crore connections in 70 years since independence, Shekhawat said.
He was addressing a conference of the public health engineering department (PHED) ministers of the North-eastern states on the JJM here.
The Centre’s focus on the development of the region has led to an allocation of Rs 9800 crore this year as a central grant for these states under the JJM, he said.
This mission is not only a programme to provide connections, but its primary aim is to ensure functionality, regular operation and maintenance to achieve assured water supply with quality, quantity and regularity, he added.
The minister said the JJM will help in bridging the gap between urban and rural areas.
The Mission will bring tap water to every home, thereby ending the drudgery faced by women and girls who now fetch water from outside, Shekhawat said.
The Union minister pointed out that the soul of the programme is ‘community participation’.
“Therefore, under JJM, a lot of emphasis is given on support activities like empowering Village Water and Sanitation Committees or Pani Samitis, preparation and approval of Village Action Plans that will have the components of drinking water source augmentation, water supply infrastructure, grey water treatment and reuse, and operation and maintenance of in-village water supply systems,” he said.
The states are organising intensive training and skilling programmes for people in every village on water quality surveillance and related works, he added.
In his address, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma pointed out that the JJM is a big opportunity for the North-eastern states to ensure potable water to all.
“We are committed to achieve 100 per cent coverage of the targeted households and public institutions within the stipulated time frame,” he said.
Sarma also extended his gratitude to the Union minister for holding the conference in Guwahati and said it has provided a good platform to discuss in detail all the key issues.
The chief minister said he is personally reviewing the status of the JJM every month and the state government has created three new divisions in the PHED for its speedy implementation.
The state government is trying to achieve the target of covering 100 per cent of rural households ahead of the scheduled period.
The topics discussed in the conference include planning, implementation and progress made so far as well as the way forward so that all remaining households in the North-Eastern states get tap water connections at the earliest.
PHED Ministers of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura attended the conference.