Union Minister of Jal Shakti Ganendra Singh Shekhawat, in a letter to Maharashtra Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray, has urged the state government to implement the Jal Jeevan Mission. The minister argued that, considering the present COVID-19 crisis, the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) will play a crucial role to combat the issues related to public health and rural economy.
Shekhawat has suggested that water supply works need to be taken up in all the villages to provide household tap connections to help locals and migrants get employment and boost the rural economy. In 2019-20, Maharashtra provided tap connections to 5.45 lakh households as against the target of 16.26 lakh tap connections.
The central government had approved Rs 1828.92 crore for the state in 2020-21, and there is an unspent amount of Rs 285.35 crore. In addition to this, the central allocation and matching state share of Rs 3,908 crore will be available in the current fiscal for implementation of JJM. Further, the 15th Finance Commission has allocated tied grants of Rs 5,827 crore to the state, which are to be spent mandatorily on the supply of drinking water, rainwater harvesting, water recycling, sanitation and maintenance of Open Defecation Free status.
Shekhawat called upon the state government to involve local village communities or gram panchayats and user groups in the planning, implementation, management, operation and maintenance of water supply systems in villages to ensure long-term sustainability to achieve drinking water security.
He requested for the retrofitting and augmentation of the existing 8,268 piped water supply schemes, thereby making a provision of 22.35 lakh household tap connections during this year. The state has been advised to take up all these works in ‘campaign mode’, so that these villages can easily become ’Har Ghar Jal Gaon’ in the next 4 to 6 months and the remaining households, belonging to poor and marginalized sections of the society, get tap connections immediately.
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