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Pti

Bhubaneswar: The Odisha government Saturday decided to organise 'water melas' in all the urban local body (ULB) areas to spread awareness among the public on water purity.

The government move has been prompted by reports of water-borne diseases like jaundice and diarrhoea coming in from different towns of the state.

A direction for organising the 'water melas' was issued by Chief Secretary A P Padhi while presiding over a review meeting here.

Asking the officials of the Housing and Urban Development (H&UD) department to ensure 100 per cent household connections, Padhi said the melas will be held in all the ULBs to create awareness among the people.

H&UD secretary G Mathivathanan said that all the 113 ULBs have been asked to take up special water connection drive.

"It has been decided to involve women SHGs, Mahila Arogya Samitis (MAS) and Ward Kalyan Samitis (WKS) as water monitors for door-to-door campaign and handholding support to the people for taking water connection," he said.

The urban poor will not be required to pay any upfront connection charges, he said adding that they will be provided the facility to pay the connection charges in easy instalments.

The HHs taking connection during the campaign period will also be benefited financially as they will not be required to cut the roads and repair that or pay the repair cost as the fine, he said.

Padhi also directed the department to make full use of the water testing laboratories which have been operationalised recently at Bhubaneswar, Puri, Cuttack and Berhampur.

He directed the department to complete another four laboratories and commission those within February, 2018. These labs would function at Samablapur, Rourkela, Balasore and Baripada.

Padhi has set a target to complete 546 projects in different phases by end of March, 2019. Target was also set to complete the Bhubaneswar Bulk water supply project covering Jatani, IIT, NISER, INFOCITY and adjoining areas under PPP mode within February, 2018.

At least 910 drinking water projects estimated at around Rs 3,013 crore have been taken up in different urban local bodies. This includes 752 projects taken up under State Plan, 130 projects under AMRUT, 8 under UIDSSMT, 18 under DMF and 2 projects under PPP," said P K Jha, the special secretary of H&UD department.

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