Guwahati: The Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, chaired a one-day Conference of Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) with the Ministers of North-Eastern States on Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) in Guwahati on Thursday (September 16). The conference was attended by Hon'ble Chief Minister of Assam Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Addressing the crucial meeting, union minister Shekhawat said that despite the Covid-19 pandemic and disruptions, the government has provided 4.87 crore new tap water connections in the last 22-23 months compared to 3.23 crore connections in 70 years after independence under the ambitious scheme Jal Jeevan Mission. Shekhawat informed that with the Union government's undivided focus on developing the Northeastern region of the country, Rs 9800 crore has been allocated this year as a central grant for NE states under Jal Jeevan Mission. He said, "It is the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide tap water connections to households in NE states. The enhancement in funds is expected to boost the development of the region. This mission is not only a programme to provide connections, as the primary aim of it is functionality and regular operation and maintenance to achieve assured water supply with quality, quantity and regularity."
Himanta Biswa Sarma, Chief Minister of Assam, in his speech, said, "Jal Jeevan Mission is a very important scheme, and Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi is putting a lot of emphasis on providing clean drinking water to every household of this country. The vision of Hon'ble Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji to ensure potable tap water supply to every rural household and public institutions under Jal Jeevan Mission is a big opportunity for the Northeastern states, and we are committed to achieve 100% coverage of the targeted households and public institutions within the stipulated time frame." The Chief Minister said that the state has made significant progress in implementing the Mission in three months. Since August, 6700 families have been provided tap water connections every day. Dr. Sarma also informed that the State government has been aggressively working to provide tap water connections to every household in 800 tea gardens in the state, apart from providing connection to Anganwadi centres and educational institutions on a priority basis.
The topics discussed in today's conference were planning, implementation and progress made so far, and the way forward so that all remaining households in the Northeastern States get tap water connections at the earliest. The conference's focus was on the important issues on the implementation of the programme, strategy & planning, progress made so far, ways to enhance the pace of implementation to achieve the goal in a time-bound manner, etc. The Union Minister of Jal Shakti interacted with Ministers of PHED on implementing the Jal Jeevan Mission and the way forward so that all remaining households in remote northeastern villages receive tap water connections at the earliest.
The Union Minister apprised that the soul of the programme is 'community participation' commencing from the planning of the water supply scheme, its implementation, and regular operation and maintenance to achieve assured water supply.