Centre tells Arunachal to expedite JJM implementation

ITANAGAR, Jun 28: The Centre has asked the Arunachal government to expeditiously implement the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM), a flagship programme that aims to improve the lives of the rural people by providing safe drinking water to every rural household through household tap connections by 2024.
Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in a letter to Chief Minister Pema Khandu urged him to focus on retrofitting and augmentation of piped water supply schemes already existing in the villages and habitations, so that the remaining households could be provided with tap connections easily in the least possible time.
Shekhawat in his letter asked the chief minister to start the work on a “campaign mode.”
“During the Covid-19 pandemic, it is the endeavour of the government that people do not crowd public stand posts and drinking water sources,” the union minister said.
He requested the state government to take up water supply works in villages “on immediate basis” to provide household tap connections, saying it would help in practising social distancing and would additionally help the local people in getting employment and boost the rural economy.
Stressing the need to strengthen the existing drinking water sources for long-term sustainability of drinking water supply systems, Shekhawat called for convergence of various programmes, such as the MGNREGS, the SBM (G), the 15th FC grants to PRIs, the district mineral development fund, the CAMPA and the local area development fund at the village level to ensure judicious use of all available funds.
“The state will get Rs 231 crore under the 15th finance commission grants to PRIs during 2020-21; 50 percent of this amount has to be mandatorily spent on water and sanitation,” the minister said in his letter.
Under the JJM, water quality testing laboratories at the district and state levels are given priority, and communities are involved for surveillance of water quality.
Provision has been made to empower and engage with the community, for which various activities have been planned, such as timely procurement of kits, supply of kits to the community, identification of at least five women in every village, and training five persons, preferably women, in using field test kits, so that water can be tested locally.
Shekhawat in his letter assured Khandu of his full support to make the state a “cent percent har ghar jal state” and said he intends to discuss the planning and implementation of the mission with Khandu through a videoconference soon.
The approach of decentralized, demand-driven, community-managed water supply schemes at the village level is perceived as a major reform in the drinking water sector in India. Being implemented in partnership with the states, the mission aims to enable every rural household with assured availability of potable water at a service level of 55 litres per capita per day on regular and long-term basis, so as to bring improvements in the lives of the rural folks.
Arunachal plans to provide cent percent tap connections to all the households of the state by March 2023, and accordingly, the Centre has allocated Rs 255 crore for the state under the mission in 2020-21.
The state would be given additional funds in the form of performance grants, based on the achievement in terms of tangible outputs – household tap connections and commensurate financial progress.
Of the 2.18 lakh total rural households in Arunachal, 37,000 households have already been provided with tap connections. The state is planning to provide 77,000 tap connections in 2020-21.
While planning, thrust would be given on covering households in the aspirational districts, quality-affected habitations, and Sansad Adarsh Gramin Yojana villages on priority.
Being a decentralized programme, local communities will play a pivotal role in planning, implementation, management, operation and maintenance of the water supply systems in the villages to ensure long-term sustainability.
Skilling activities have been planned, so that unemployed youths could be trained in plumbing, masonry, fitting and pump operation, so that a pool of trained human resources would be available at the village level, which would help in long-term operation and maintenance of schemes without depending on outside agencies. (PTI)