Ravi S Singh
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, July 12
The Centre has asked the BJD-ruled state of Odisha to expedite work to provide piped drinking water to all the villages under the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM).
In a letter to Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has pitched for the start of work to provide tap water in all the villages of the state.
Sources said the Centre’s nudge to the Odisha government is on the heels of its approval of the state’s Annual Action Plan (AAP) for 2021-22 for JJM.
While green-lighting the plan, the Centre approved an increased annual allocation of funds to the state to more than Rs 3,323 crore for the year 2021-22.
The Central grant to the state in 2020-21 was about Rs 812 crore, making this year’s allocation marks about a four-fold increase.
With an unspent balance of Rs 11 crore and matching state’s share of Rs. 3,253 crore, in all Rs 6,596 crore is available for water supply work in the state in 2021-22.
The JJM’s goal is to provide every rural household in the country with piped drinking water by 2024. The Jal Shakti Ministry is the nodal authority with regard to its implementation.
Goa, Telangana, Andaman & Nicobar Islands and Puducherry have achieved 100% household with an assured tap water supply and have become ‘Har Ghar Jal’.
At the start of the JJM in 2019, out of a total of about 19 crore rural households in the country, only about 3 Crore (17%) had tap water connections.
During the last 22 months, despite Covid-19, it has been implemented with speed and 4.5 crore households have been provided with tap water connections.