Rural drinking water plans have little to show 16 years later

Rural drinking water plans have little to show 16 years later
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Junaid Rather

SRINAGAR: Since 2002, the state government is yet to complete hundreds of water supply schemes falling under the centrally sponsored National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP). In more than a decade, only 20 percent of these have been completed.
Official sources informed Kashmir Reader that a total of 2,511 water supply schemes were sanctioned by the United Progressive Alliance government since 2002, but till now only approximately 300 schemes have been finalised.
The projects include schemes for 22 blocks, 148 Gram Panchayats and 3,510 villages. Giving details, the official said that 1,566 schemes were allotted for Jammu division and 934 for Kashmir division, aimed at providing adequate safe water for drinking and other domestic consumption.
The official said that the aim and objective of the NRDWP is to provide every rural person with adequate safe water for drinking, cooking and other basic domestic needs on a sustainable basis that also conforms to at least a minimum water quality standard, which should be conveniently accessible at all times and in all situations. Achieving this aim and objective is a continuous process, the official said.
He added that now that the government has failed to finish the project, it deprives large numbers from the state of drinking water.
The official while giving the breakup of the schemes said that 294 schemes, the highest number, were sanctioned for Jammu district; 168 for Rajouri; 89 for Poonch; Kishtwar got 99; Kathua and Samba 72 each, while for Leh and Kargil, 149 schemes were allotted.
In Kashmir, Baramulla holds the distinction of the highest number of water supply schemes with 173 allotments; Kupwara 109; Bandipora 89; Anantnag 156; Shopian 90; Kulgam 101; Srinagar 98; Budgam 111 and Ganderbal 73.
The Government of India provides financial and technical assistance to states under the NRDWP, to supplement their efforts to provide adequate safe drinking water to the rural population.
When contacted Sham Lal Chaudhary, Minister for PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control said that last year the funds were very less.
He said that the state government, in consultation with the central ministry, prepares Annual Action Plans (AAP) each year to implement rural water supply schemes to cover partially covered and quality affected habitations and for other activities.
“This year we are gearing up and our target and focus is to complete these schemes this year,” he said, adding that the pipeline and machinery which were damaged during the 2014 floods and because of other factors are being repaired by the Economic and Reconstruction Agency.
“The government will build hand-pumps in remote areas which have a small population and have no water sources for consumption,” Chaudhary said.