The Union Government has approved Rs 812 crore for implementation of the Jal Jeevan Mission in Odisha for the financial year 2020-21. The State Government had presented the annual action plan before the national committee headed by Secretary Drinking Water & Sanitation Ministry of Jal Shakti for consideration and approval.
This allocation is a significant jump from last year’s allocation of Rs 297 crore, said sources.
Out of 81 lakh rural households in the State, State Government plans to provide 16.21 lakh household connections in 2020-21. According to sources, the State is planning 100 percent household tap connections by the year 2024, and priority is being given for 100 percent coverage of villages under water scarce areas, quality-affected areas, Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojna villages, villages in aspirational districts and SC/ ST dominated habitations.
Laying emphasis on capitalizing on ‘low-hanging fruits’ i.e. in the villages/ habitations where piped water supply schemes already exist, the state is making all out efforts to immediately provide household tap connections to remaining households belonging to weaker and marginalized sections on priority, said the sources. A roadmap is prepared for the effective implementation of the Village Action Plan (VAP) with the active participation of the rural community, they said.
Strengthening of existing drinking water sources for the long-term sustainability of drinking water supply systems through the convergence of various programs like MGNREGS, SBM (G), 15th FC Grants to PRIs, District Mineral Development Fund, CAMPA, Local Area Development Fund, etc. at village level is planned for judicious use of all available resources.
The State has been allocated Rs. 2,258 crore under 15th Finance Commission Grants to PRIs during 2020-21; 50% of this amount has to be mandatorily spent on water and sanitation. To implement the mission, institutional arrangements at various levels have been made and the State’s Public Health Engineering Department is to play a critical role.
To instill a sense of ownership among the village community, Mission strives to involve the community in planning, managing, implementing, operation, and maintaining the water supply schemes meant for them for long-term sustainability. State Government will start engaging the Self Help Groups and voluntary organizations for community mobilization. State also proposed taking NABL accreditation for 18 of its water testing labs. At present, it has one state-level lab and 32 district level labs.
Odisha reels under two extreme conditions of water scarcity and also excess of it. There is one part which is water-stressed for most of the year, while the other part is marooned in monsoon. With the mercury soaring above 40 degrees Celsius, and during the prevailing COVID–19 pandemic, it is important that people don’t crowd public stand posts/ drinking water sources to fetch drinking water.
Therefore, State was advised for taking up water supply works in villages to provide household tap connections, which will help in practicing social distancing, and will additionally help local people in getting employment and boost the rural economy. In the present context, when a lot of migrants are returning to the State, it has become very important to provide a livelihood to them.
This personnel could be utilized in water supply related works especially plumbing, fitting, water conservation works, etc. in every village to ensure sufficient groundwater availability leading to water security, water availability for agriculture and most importantly will help in the provision of drinking water to every rural household as per the objective of Jal Jeevan Mission.