Saswat Singhdeo

Bhubaneswar: After continuous decline in Composite Water Management Index rankings, the State government today directed various departments to prepare a special action plan after convening a meeting during which various loopholes were identified.

In the Composite Water Management Index report for the year 2017-18 that was released by the Niti Aayog on August 23, Odisha has been placed among the low-performing states.

In 2015-16, the State was placed at 9th position followed by 13th in 2016-17 and in the latest report for the year 2017-18, Odisha has come down to 14th position. The latest report highlights under-utilization of irrigation potential, lack of separate power feeders for agriculture and absence of laws for water conservation in Odisha.

In a meeting convened today, Water Resources, Agriculture, Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water, Urban Development and Energy departments have been asked to prepare the special action plan, informed sources. It is said that one of the reasons behind Odisha's poor performance in the ranking is submission of incomplete data by the concerned departments.

“If we have come down in the list that doesn’t mean we will remain at the same position. We will definitely improve,” said Odisha Water Resources Minister, Raghunandan Das.

Opposition parties slammed the BJD-led government for State’s drop in Composite Water Management Index.

“From groundwater to surface water management, Odisha govt has failed completely, but at the same time they are accusing Chhattisgarh of mismanagement in Mahanadi issue. State govt should launch a water policy to resolve the issues,” BJP leader Mukesh Mahalinga said.

Slamming the Odisha government, Congress leader Sura Routray said, “The State government has completely failed in water management.”

Meanwhile, Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat today requested all the states to come forward to achieve the target of making piped potable water accessible to every rural household by 2024.

Addressing the Chief Ministers' conference on Jal Jeevan Mission in Delhi, Shekhawat exuded confidence and said that the target would be achieved with the support of stakeholders.

Panchayati Raj and Drinking Water Minister Pratap Jena, who attended the conference said, “Before the start of Jal Jeevan Mission, we have already started a programme in Odisha to provide potable water to everyone by 2024.”