The Central government on Tuesday expressed serious concern over the slow progress of Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) in Meghalaya.
Union Minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in a letter to Meghalaya chief minister Conrad K Sangma expressed his concerns over the slow progress of JJM work.
Shekhawat mentioned that under the Jal Jeevan Mission, funds are provided by the Government of India based on the output in terms of household tap connections provided and the utilization of available funds.
Against the target of providing tap connections to 1.17 lakh households in the year 2019-20, only 1,800 tap connections were given.
Further, Meghalaya was allocated Rs 86.02 Crore in 2019-20, but due to slow progress of works only Rs 43.01 Crore was released, out of which the State could only spend Rs 26.35 Crore, leaving an unspent balance of Rs 17.46 crore.
He said allocation for Meghalaya has been increased to Rs 174.92 crore in 2020-21, and with opening balance of Rs 17.46 crore and along with this year’s allocation of Rs 174.92 crore, Meghalaya has assured availability of Rs.192.38 crore of central fund.
With matching state share, the state will have Rs 216 crore during 2020-21 for implementation of JJM.
Shekhawat stressed that providing potable water to every rural household is a national priority and the state should make efforts to accomplish the goal in a time-bound manner.
Emphasizing on the importance of water sources for long-term sustainability of water supply systems, the Union Minister advised for strengthening of existing drinking water sources for long-term sustainability of drinking water supply systems.
“The planning should be done at village level and Village Action Plan (VAP) of every village is to be prepared by dovetailing all available resources by convergence of different programmes viz. MGNREGS, SBM, 15th Finance Commission Grants to PRIs, CAMPA funds, District Mineral Development Fund, Local Area Development Funds,” he said.
It has been further emphasized that the local village community and Gram Panchayats and user groups need to be involved in planning, implementation, management, operation and maintenance of water supply systems in villages to ensure long-term sustainability to achieve drinking water security.
In all villages, the IEC campaign along with community mobilization needs to be taken up to make Jal Jeevan Mission truly a people’s movement.
Officials said Meghalaya plans to provide tap connections to all rural households by December, 2022.
As announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his last Independence Day speech, states are implementing JJM, which aims to provide potable drinking water to every rural household through household tap connections (FHTCs) by 2024.
This mission is a tool to provide security and dignity to rural women especially girls to reduce their drudgery.
The Jal Shakti Minister stressed the need for proper planning to be done to achieve the goal of JJM within the time-frame with focus on retrofitting and augmentation of existing water supply systems to provide tap connections to remaining households.
He urged chief minister Sangma to stress on taking up works immediately in a ‘campaign mode‘ in 3,891 villages in the State reported to have existing piped water supply schemes.
The minister said priority is to be given to saturation of villages in aspirational districts, SC, ST dominant villages and habitations and villages covered under Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana.