Ramakanta Biswas

Bhubaneswar: The 'never-ending' issues related to piped drinking water supply rocked the Odisha Assembly on Tuesday after Congress MLAs targeted the State government citing that it has furnished wrong data in the House. Surprisingly, even legislators of the ruling-BJD cornered the government over the issue.

Replying to a question asked by Congress MLA Tara Prasad Bahinipati, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water Minister Pratap Jena said 19,504 out of total 47,306 villages in the State have been supplied with piped drinking water. He said all villages in State would be provided safe drinking water by 2025. Of the Rs 17372 crore earmarked for the project, Centre has provided Rs 549 crore only, he added.

Not satisfied with the answer, Bahinipati alleged that the Minister has furnished false data. He claimed that 50 per cent of the drinking water projects are lying defunct in the State.

Ruling BJD MLA Pradeep Maharathy also mocked the Minister in the guise of asking question and alleged that there are inconsistencies in the claims of the State government and reality of the projects implementation. He also cited that the Minister had earlier assured supply of safe drinking water to all villages by 2020.

Similarly, former Speaker Pradip Amat said that several drinking water projects are being commissioned for the last 13 years in his region, which are yet to be completed.

In response, the concerned minister said that all households in urban areas will get piped drinking water supply by 2020 while the facilities would be made available in all rural households by 2024-25.

On the other hand, senior Congress MLA Sura Routray boycotted the proceedings alleging that he was not allowed to speak during the question hour.