Union Minister Jal Shakti, Lt Governor review implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission in J&K

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SRINAGAR, JULY 10: Sh. Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Union Minister for Jal Shakti and Lieutenant Governor, Girish Chandra Murmu today reviewed the implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir through video conferencing.

Advisor to the Lieutenant Governor, Sh. Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar; Sh. BVR Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary; Sh. Arun Kumar Mehta, Financial Commissioner, Finance department; Sh. Ajeet Kumar Sahu, Commissioner/Secretary, Jal Shakti department; Ms. Sheetal Nanda, Secretary, Department of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj and other senior officers attended the meeting, in person and through video conferencing.

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Timeline for achieving the target of 100% piped water supply to each household was set for the completion of First Phase by March 2021; Second Phase by December, 2021 and March, 2022 was set for the completion of the Third Phase.

The Union Minister observed that the Government of India is committed to provide assured basic services to the people living in rural areas across the country. He reiterated the commitment of Union Government to provide all assistance to the UT to achieve the set goal under JJM.

He stressed on testing of all water sources for once for chemical parameters and twice for bacteriological contamination (pre and post monsoon). He further called for imparting training to five persons, preferably, women, in every village for surveillance of water quality through Field Test Kits (FTKs). The UT was asked for NABL accreditation of all laboratories in next few months.

The Union Minister further emphasized on preparation of village action plans as well as constitution of village water and sanitation committee/ Paani Samiti as a sub-committee of Gram Panchayat with minimum 50% women members, responsible for planning, designing, implementing and operating & maintaining of in-village water supply infrastructure. In all villages, IEC campaign along with community mobilization needs to be taken up to make Jal Jeevan Mission truly a people’s movement.

Underlining the importance of sustainable infrastructure, he asked for proper maintenance and third party inspection of water infrastructure for ensuring sustainability.

Emphasis was given on convergence of Jal Jeevan Mission with Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM), MGNREGA and other relevant schemes for dovetailing of funds to ensure long term availability of good quality drinking water in adequate quantity.

The Lt Governor observed that Jammu and Kashmir intends to be a leader under the Jal Jeevan Mission for providing piped water supply (Har Ghar Nal se Jal) to every household. The Government of J&K seeks to make the UT, the first among UTs / States in India to complete the Jal Jeevan Mission. The J&K Government has also allocated around Rs. 1800 crore for this purpose out of JKIDFC funding to start working on this mission, he added.

The Lt Governor called for focused attention on Jal Jeevan Mission and directed the concerned officers for holding weekly reviews for its effective implementation. He further directed for establishment of water committees (Paani Samitis) in villages. He asked the Financial Commissioner, Finance Department to release the earmarked funds for meeting the requirements under the scheme.

The Lt Governor said that the Government is eying for 100% coverage of 3 districts i.e. Ganderbal, Srinagar and Reasi before 15th August this year.

Chief Secretary, BVR Subrahmanyam assured the Union Minister and the Lt Governor that the work in some districts would be completed this year itself and the rest by March 2022. The procurement systems of Jal Shakti department have been revamped for this purpose, he added.

Commissioner-Secretary, Jal Shakti department, Ajeet Kumar Sahu briefed the meeting about the status of number of households connected and District wise PWS connectivity across J&K. It was informed that out of 6,877, village action plans for 1,800 villages have been prepared.

Jal Shakti Department J&K earlier envisaged completing this Mission with approximate funding of Rs. 10,644.12 crore in three Phases. The Department during the financial year 2019-20 made aggressive efforts in providing new connections and regularizing earlier connections by way of adding another 2.93 lakhs connections and thus making the total tally of PWS connected Households to 7.82 lakhs, he added

The Mission having a three tiered structure for implementation viz. i) Jal Jeevan Mission, J&K at the Union Territory level comprising of an Apex Committee, an Executive Committee and a Mission Directorate; ii) District Jal Jeevan Mission at the Districts level; and iii) Paani Samitis at the village level.

The Department has 20 District Level Water Quality Testing Labs and process for NABL Accreditation of these Labs has been initiated under JJM. 04 Mobile Water Quality Testing Labs are being procured under JJM, it was informed.