One-day awareness camp on water sanitation held at Kathua

SHAM-22KATHUA : Minister for PHE, Irrigation & Flood Control, ShamLal Sharma has said that Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) have greater responsibilities to monitor and maintain services, for which the Government has already identified their role and jurisdictions. The real sense of democracy can only be prevailed at the ground level when the Panchayat functionaries give their hundred per cent and full-fill the mandate enshrined in the Panchayati Raj Act, he added.
The Minister was speaking at a one-day training-cum-awareness camp on the water sanitation, which was jointly organized by National Development Foundation an NGO, and Communication and Capacity Development Unit (CCDU), here today.
Member Parliament, Ch. Lal Singh, Chief Engineer, Ravi Tawi Irrigation, Hem ChanderJerath, Chief Engineer, Irrigation & Flood Control, SushilAima, Additional DC, Kathua, Rajesh Sharma, S.P. Kathua, Mohan Lal, State Coordinator CCDU, Dr. NarinderButyal, Chief Functionary, NDF, Rajiv Khajuria, Sarpanchs, Panchs, health workers, ASHA workers, Anganwari workers and prominent citizens of Kathua were present on the occasion.
Maintaining that water sanitation and conservation is a matter of prime concern; the Minister said that a joint effort is required to address this issue. Only Government effort cannot bring fruit, but entire society should contribute for this noble cause. The Government’s prime duty is to create facilities, but society should coordinate to maintain these facilities in a systematic and scientific way. He said Government has been making its effort to involve all stakeholders, especially, the PRIs who are mandated to create awareness amongst the rural masses about the water sanitation and its judicious use.
The Government has constituted Village Sanitation Committees (VSCs) to ensure safe drinking water after necessary water testing through the water testing kits being provided by the Government. Necessary funds for undertaking tests and executing minor repairs of Hand Pumps and awareness activities have already deposited in the accounts of VSCs, which are headed by the concerned Sarpanchs, Junior Engineer, ASHA worker, Anganwari Worker, Science Teacher of local school, health worker of nearby health centre etc. The VSCs have been empowered to conduct frequent tests of water available in their areas, in case the water is unsafe, the Committees can approach the functionaries of District Level Water Sanitation Mission headed by the Deputy Commissioners, said the Minister.
On the point of conservation and judicious use of water, the Minister said that Government has formulated a proposal to upgrade and restore the traditional water sources like ponds, springs, nallahs under sustainability programme. By doing so, pressure on the drinking water will come down and people will be able to use the water of these sources for other purposes. Besides, the Government has also decided to develop 10 check dams in every PHE Division, which will help conservation of rain water and raising the ground water table, said the Minister.
Responding to the demand of the Member Parliament, the Minister directed the Executive Engineer, Ground Water to undertake necessary repair of all faulty hand pumps in Kathua district within a period of next 10 days. He also assured to upgrade the existing water supply schemes in the district to improve their efficiency.
Ch. Lal Singh also addressed the gathering and stressed the need for stepping up efforts for creating awareness amongst the masses about the water sanitation and its proper conservation and judicious use. He demanded conservation of traditional sources of water, up-gradation of existing water supply schemes, especially in the dry belt to overcome the water paucity. He also demanded repair of all the faulty hand pumps in Kathua district and suggested for framing mega water supply schemes for the kandi belt of Kathua to meet the future requirements.
Various speakers address the gathering and highlighted the importance of water sanitation and role of the civil society and other stakeholders on the subject.

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