Meghalaya has set a target to achieve 100 per cent household tap connections by December, 2022.
Out of 5.89 lakh total rural households, the State is planning to provide 1.80 lakh tap connections in 2020-21.
According to officials, work is on in full swing to achieve the targeted goal of the Functional Household Tap Connection (FHTC) in the State.
As per the Annual Action Plan presented to Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM), Ministry of Jal Shakti recently, Meghalaya is planning to cover 1096 villages with 100 per cent tap connection in 2020-21.
On November 3, Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat chaired a virtual conference today with all states and union territories and reviewed the progress made under the JJM, a flagship programme of the Union Government for providing tap water connection in every rural household by 2024.
Under JJM, states are given additional funds in form of performance grants based on their performances in terms of outputs achieved i.e. the household tap connections. The Government of India has approved Rs.175 crore for implementation of JJM in 2020-21.
Meghalaya is blessed with more than average rainfall and has abundant natural water resources. However, due to detrimental human interference, the water levels being depleted. Thus, a multi-pronged corrective approach is required by State government.
JJM does provide a definite roadmap to the State to provide clean, potable water to its citizens in their houses, so that the women and girls do not have to face difficulty for fetching clean water.
Though, it was noted that Meghalaya has so far not provided tap connections to large number of households, but the Annual Action Plan was suggestive for extensive work in coming years. To achieve that, a better implementation strategy and arrangements on village level is needed, for which the State is making elaborate arrangements.
The State is giving emphasis on the ‘low-hanging fruits’ i.e. in the villages/ habitations where piped water supply schemes already exist, so that remaining households could be provided with tap connections easily in very less time.
The State plans to immediately provide tap connections to all remaining households belonging to weaker and marginalised sections of the society on priority.
A defined roadmap is also charted for the effective implementation of Village Action Plan (VAP) with the active participation of the rural community.
Strengthening of existing drinking water sources for long-term sustainability of drinking water supply systems through convergence of various programmes like MGNREGS, SBM (G), 15th Finance Commission Grants to PRIs, District Mineral Development Fund, CAMPA, Local Area Development Fund, etc. at village level is planned for effective use of all available resources.
Meghalaya has been allocated Rs. 182 crore under 15th Finance Commission Grants to PRIs during 2020-21; 50% of this amount has to be mandatorily to be spent on water and sanitation.
While planning, thrust is given on covering households in quality-affected habitations, aspirational district, Sansad Adarsh Gramin Yojna villages, etc on priority.
Under JJM, water quality testing laboratories at district and State levels are given priority. The community is being encouraged for surveillance of water quality and the PHE Department is facilitating to empower and engage with the community.
For this, action plan carried out to incorporate the various planned activities like timely procurement of kits, supply of kits to the community, identification of at least five women in every village, training women for use of field test kits and reporting and collating the reports with laboratory-based findings of the water sources.
JJM will ensure sufficient ground water availability in all villages leading to water security, water availability for agriculture and most importantly will help in provision of drinking water to every rural household.