With an aim to provide clean tap water to every household, the Central grant to Odisha under the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) has been increased by four times in the financial year 2021-22.
"Centre allocates Rs 3,323 crore grant to #Odisha under #JalJeevanMission. With four-fold increase in allocation, Centre supports Odisha to become 'Har Ghar Jal' State by March, 2024," PIB, Odisha said, in a tweet on Sunday.
The Union Jal Shakti Ministry has increased the grant for the state during the financial year 2021-21 to Rs 3,323.42 crore from Rs 812.15 crore made during the previous year (2020-21).
Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has approved the four-fold increase in allocation to Odisha and assured full assistance to the state for making provision of tap water supply in every rural home by March, 2024.
In a letter to the Chief Minister of Odisha, Shekhawat has emphasised that the work of providing tap connections should start in all the villages so that the state can provide tap water supply to every household by March, 2024.
With unspent balance of Rs 10.93 crore and matching the state's share of Rs 3,253 crore, in total, Rs 6,596 crore is available for water supply work in the state in 2021-22.
On August 15, 2019, at the time of launch of JJM, only 3.10 lakh (3.63 per cent) households had tap water connections. Since then, 22.84 lakh households in the state have been provided with tap water connections. Thus, in Odisha, out of a total of 85.66 lakh households, now 25.95 lakh households (30.3 per cent) have tap water supply, it said.
In 2021-22, the state has planned to provide tap water connections to 21.31 lakh households, 22.53 lakh tap water connections in the year 2022-23 and 18.87 lakh tap water connections in 2023-24 to achieve tap water supply for every rural household.
To enable PRIs to manage water supply and ensure improved sanitation in villages, in 2021-22, Rs 1,002 crore has been allocated to Odisha as 15th Finance Commission tied grants for water & sanitation to rural local bodies or Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs).
There is an assured funding of Rs 5,280 crore for the next five years i.e. up to 2025-26. This huge investment in rural areas of Odisha, will accelerate economic activities and also boost the rural economy. It will create new employment opportunities in villages, the ministry said.
The Centre has urged the state government to accord priority to water-scarce areas, quality-affected villages, Aspirational districts, SC/ST majority villages and Saansad Adarsh Gram Yojna (SAGY) villages.
It has also advised to upgrade the water testing laboratories and securing NABL accreditation. Out of a total of 77 laboratories, only 6 labs are NABL accredited in Odisha.
The state government has been further urged to undertake support activities like strengthening the Village Water & Sanitation Committee (VWSC)/ Pani Samiti, developing of Village Action Plan for next five years, engaging Implementing State Agencies (ISAs) to handhold and support village communities, and carry out awareness among people. So far in 47,412 villages of the state, only 1,184 villages have VWSCs or Pani Samitis.