Kashmir Indepth

Replace annual water charges with monthly bills for convenience of public: CS Conducts virtual tour of works; takes feedback from Public, PRIs also

SRINAGAR, MAY 19: Continuing the momentum, Chief Secretary, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta today again conducted virtual tour of works taken up under the central flagship programme Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) for their early completion across the UT of J&K. He interacted with public and officials of the department for first hand appraisal of the progress made in the mission so far.
The meeting was attended by Principal Secretary, Jal Shakti Department (JSD); Mission Director, JJM; Deputy Commissioners; Special Secretary, JSD; Director Finance, JSD; Chief Engineers; Superintending Engineers; and other officers of the Jal Shakti Department either physically or virtually.
At the outset, the Chief Secretary asked the officers about the progress of the mission and asked them to meet the deadlines without any fail. He also urged them to expedite the tendering of remaining works so that these are taken up early and completed within the given timeframe. He also talked to locals and PRI members there and enquired from them about the quality and pace of work going on at each site.
He directed that clearances for laying of pipe networks through forests should be provided expeditiously while safeguarding environment. He asked for monitoring such issues at the highest level so that no work gets delayed due to lack of attention.
He impressed upon them to involve the members of PaniSamities at every step so that they gets accustomed to the nitty gritty of running these schemes successfully in future as per the mandate of the mission. He enjoined upon the officers for evaluation of the works besides greater role for public representatives and Paani Samities in monitoring progress of various works.
He instructed the officers to carry out assessment of sustainability of source of each water supply scheme. He also advised them to ensure that people are provided adequate quantity of potable water. He exhorted upon them to secure NABL accreditation of every water testing lab for third party certification of the quality parameters.
Dr Mehta also maintained that presently the Jal Jeevan Mission is being implemented in the initial years of the ‘AmritKaal’ period which is quite heartening and one of the prerequisites for ‘ Viksit J&K’ endeavour. He made out that with the completion of this Mission, every household is going to get a functional tap water connection that embodies in itself a goal of ‘ Viksit Bharat Abhiyan ‘ towards empowering people at the grassroots level.
During the meeting Dr Mehta also directed for dispensing with the practice of charging people annually for water usage. He instead asked for breaking the same into monthly bills so that the consumers find it easy and less cumbersome. He also stressed on switching to digital mode of payments for the ease of customers.
The Principal Secretary, Shaleen Kabra informed the Chief Secretary that the mission is under implementation from 2019 and has achieved a substantial progress till now. He informed the meeting that out of the 18,67,803 rural households, 11,36,497 have been provided the Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTCs) till date. He further added that during the months from Dec, 2022 to May, 2023 a total of 77008 FHTCs had been provided under JJM.
He revealed that every remaining rural household would possibly get the tap water connection under this mission by September this year as most of the targets would be completed by then. In the presentation he threw light on all the aspects of the mission. He gave detailed analysis of the objectives, procedures, progress and way forward to take the mission to its logical conclusion within the given time limit.
It was further given out that of 6714 works, 5403 (81%) stands allotted till date. It was further revealed that 3358 works are currently under progress and 532 works stands completed in the UT.
It is noteworthy to mention here that the works of which the virtual assessment was taken by the Chief Secretary includes Water Supply Schemes at Issoo (Anantnag), Heng (Baramulla), Akhnoor (Jammu), Banderpora (Pulwama), Vijhara (Bandipora), Gulgam, Tangwari (Kupwara), Chowki (Rajouri), Sangaldan (Ramban), Jawalapur (Kishtwar) and Seal (Doda).

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