In a bid to bring urban areas under the ambit of the Centre’s Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) scheme, Public Health Engineering (PHE) minister Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar, on March 24, said the government has taken up the issue twice with the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
“I have requested him Union Minister for Ministry of Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat to consider including urban households under the JJM. It will be very difficult for us to celebrate that we have been able to provide tap connections to each and every household in rural areas until and unless we are able to give the urban people as well,” he said.
The JJM, a flagship program of the government of India to provide household tap water connection to every rural household of the country by 2024, at present, is being implemented only in the rural areas of the state.
“(However) if not under JJM, some other schemes will be given for the urban people and I hope will be able to give tap connection to each and every household in the state…,” he said.
Giving a progress report on the JJM implementation in the state, the PHE minister said the department will soon complete providing tap connections to 5.32 lakh out of 5.89 lakh households in the rural areas. “Work for 5.32 lakh households has been initiated. This is a very good sign and we are working towards ensuring that we will be able to provide tap connections to all 5.32 lakh households,” he said, adding that Rs 3000 to Rs 4,000 crore will be required to complete the entire scheme.
According to him, Meghalaya stands second in the country in terms of good performance in the JJM implementation and so far, 1,200 to 1,300 villages have achieved 100 per cent tap connection.
Informing about the completion of the Greater Shillong Water Supply Scheme (GSWSS) Phase-III, Tongkhar said that the required estimate for the scheme has been sanctioned by the government and all necessary clearances have been acquired.
“There should not be any more reason not to complete the project because all the hurdles, such as payment to the Public Work Department (PWD) and clearance from Ministry of Defense, have been resolved,” he said, adding that whatever coordination needs to be maintained with the locals too have been done.
The minister further said that within this year, the government will be “trying its best” to complete all incomplete projects under the department. Informing that there are many projects pending with the department for years, Tongkhar said, “We will try our best to ensure all pending schemes are completed within this year itself.”
Tongkhar also informed that the government will be completing the Nongstoin Greater Water Supply Scheme soon and the long-pending Rymbai Water Supply Scheme is nearing its completion.
He also informed that the Nongstoin Water Supply Scheme, which is more than 10 years old and the last revised estimate to complete the project was sanctioned at Rs 114 crore, too will be completed soon. “All these years, only pipes have been laid but the pump provision was not there. However, now the pump has been installed and the project is nearing completion,” he said.