Under Jal Jeevan Mission, the Government of Meghalaya has decided to provide Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC) to all rural homes in the State by 2023. There are 5.90 lakh rural households in 6,415 villages in the State and out of these, balance 5.83 lakh households are planned to be provided tap connection.
The primary focus under the Mission is ‘service delivery’ and ‘functionality’. Every family is to be provided with potable water of prescribed quality, in adequate quantities on a regular and long-term basis. This needs the local communities to own their water supply systems and lead the implementation from the planning stage to the operational & maintenance stage.
The mission is being implemented in such a manner that local communities through their Dorbar Shnong or its sub-committees namely Village Water and Sanitation Committees (VWSCs) plan, implement, approve, operate and maintain their own water supply systems.
Recently, a two-member team from the National Jal Jeevan Mission visited the State. The team visited the districts of West and East Jaiñtia, East Khasi and Ri-Bhoi, an aspirational district.
In the Amsohrhong village in West Jaiñtia district, that is last but one village from the Bangladesh border, the central team found that all 74 households have been provided with tap water connections. Earlier, the water supply was through public stand posts requiring women and children to walk every time to fetch water.
As envisaged under Jal Jeevan Mission, the community has to contribute 5 per cent or 10 per cent of capital cost for in-village infrastructure as the case may be, in cash, kind or labour. The community has provided labour for meeting the 5 per cent community contribution, which indicates the sense of ownership of the village community for the water supply scheme.
In East Jaiñtia district, the team visited the Suchen Mulieh village with 62 households who all have been provided tap water connections through a multi-village scheme. Water tariff in these two districts would be decided by the community after handing over the schemes. One of the problems faced is the difficulty in transporting the materials to far off villages due to poor connectivity during monsoon as well as the lock down period when villagers never allowed any outsider to visit them.
In Mawthlong Mynsain village of East Khasi district having 123 households, the team found that 95 households have been provided tap connection so far.
The provision of tap connection has saved hours of drudgery of women and girls in the village and the daughters are now relieved of their evening routine to fetch water and use saved hours for studies and games.
The Village Water & Sanitation Committee Chairman has assured to take over the operation and maintenance of the water supply scheme.
The team also visited the Sohryngkham village, which is once considered as a largest village in Asia and spread over 32.61 sq.km with a population of 7,789, wherein the retrofitting works of existing piped water supply systems is planned to provide tap water connections to all households.
In the aspirational district of Ri-Bhoi, the team visited Syad Heh, Narbong and Umiapkhla villages wherein tap connections are being provided through convergence with retrofitting of schemes taken up to provide tap connections.
Despite a small village with framing as major activity, the 21 households of Umiapkhla village provided 5 per cent community contribution and are willing to collect Rs 40 per household per month for the operation and maintenance.
Along with households, anganwadis and schools are also being provided tap connections under the mission’s 100 days campaign launched on October 2 to provide piped water supply in these public institutions.
The team also had interactions with district and State PHE Department officials.
Meghalaya that started with one per cent of its rural households with tap connection is well on its way to achieve the targeted 100 per cent tap connection by 2023, the team observed.