Srinagar, Feb 13, KDC: On 15th of August, 2019, from the ramparts of the Red Fort, Prime Minister, Sh. Narendra Modi announced Government of India’s ambitious project ‘JAL JEEVAN MISSION (JJM)’ to provide safe and adequate drinking water through individual functional household tap connections (FHTCs) by 2024 to all households in rural India.
The programme will cater to other aspects of water scenario of the country like recharge and reuse through grey water management, water conservation and rainwater harvesting. The mission will be based on a community approach and will include extensive Information, Education and Communication as a key component of the mission.
As far as Jammu and Kashmir is concerned, the UT has made remarkable progress under this mission. The J&K Administration has set a target to cover all the 20 districts of the UT by September 2022 under this ambitious mission. As per the data available on the dashboard of JJM, out of total 18.35 lakh households, about 5.75 lakh households have functional tap water connections.
Now after two years of hard work, a total of 10.50 lakh (57.2%) households have tap water connections as J&K has provided 4.67 lakh new tap water connections in the last two years. Two districts namely Srinagar and Ganderbal which include 11 blocks, 383 panchayats and 1070 villages have achieved 100% coverage of tap water connections.
Apart from this, J&K has made other remarkable strides under the mission. 100% Rural Schools (23160), 100% Rural Anganwadi Centres (24163) and 100% Rural Health centres (3324) have been provided piped water connections. Besides, 1612 Gram Panchayat Buildings have been covered under piped Water Supply. Also, 5774 Pani Samitis have been constituted in J&K for active involvement of local community in planning, monitoring and successful implementation of JJM.
This highly rewarding mission is being implemented in a decentralized manner following the ‘bottom up’ approach, wherein the local village community plays a key role starting from planning to implementation and from management to operation and maintenance. The Centre has allocated 2747 crore during the year 2021-22 which is nearly four times than preceding year, 2020-21. J&K plans to achieve the target of HAR GHAR NAL HAR GHAR JAL by august 2022. In its 2nd phase, the UT Government has set a target to cover 11 districts, which includes 153 blocks, 1952 panchayats and 3254 villages with 4.93 lakh Functional Household Tap Connections. In the last phase of this mission, 7 districts involving 121 blocks, 1660 panchayats and 2623 villages shall be covered with 3.12 lakh functional household tap connections.
To ensure quality water supply, 97 water testing laboratories have been set up across Jammu and Kashmir. Government stresses not only on regular tap water supply but also on water quality. Water testing is important for monitoring the operation of water supply, verification of the safety of drinking water, investigation of disease outbreaks, validation process and preventive measures. Third Party Monitor, Concurrent auditors, Media agency have been put in place for greater transparency, accountability and public awareness regarding JJM.
The project includes utilisation of upto 2% of total fund allocation for water quality monitoring and surveillance activities which primarily comprise water quality monitoring by the department through laboratory testing and water quality surveillance by the community through testing local water using field test kits (FTK). To empower the local community on water quality surveillance in J&K, five persons will be trained, especially women in each village from the local community, viz. ASHA workers, health workers, VWSC/Pani Samiti members, teachers, SHG members etc. To conduct water quality tests using FTK.
In spite of detrimental weather conditions and challenges of transportation in many areas in this difficult terrain, water supply work is in full swing to make provision of tap water supply in villages. The UT Government is committed to provide tap water connections to every household and capacity building of Water Quality Management- testing, monitoring and surveillance. Improved SDG of J&K in NITI Aayog’s report is testimony of the government’s commitment to ensure safe water supply, sustainability of the source water supply system, along with inter-departmental coordination is significant for the effective implementation of the project.
In order to give a push to the effective implementation of the Mission in J&K, a full-fledged Mission Directorate and Programme Management Unit has been established in the UT.
Moreover, to fast track the pace of work on the JJM and to overcome certain hitches in the fulfilment of procedural formalities, revised modalities have been approved by the Administrative Council of J&K Government recently.
Being aware of the various challenges, JJM is promoting the Panchayati Raj Institutions/Rural Local Bodies to play a key role in managing in-village water supply systems. Since August 2019, it is ascertained that the paradigm shift in entrusting ownership of water supply systems to village level institutions, is being welcomed by the local communities, thus demonstrating ‘responsible and responsive leadership’ developing at local level. The aim is to bring transformation in the lives of people living in villages and to make villages – ‘water, sanitation and hygiene enlightened villages,’i.e. WASH Prabudh Gaon.
In conformity with the motto of Jal Jeevan Mission -BUILDING PARTNERSHIPS, CHANGING LIVES, 185 organizations like UN agencies i.e. UNICEF, UNOPS and trusts, foundations etc have been roped in as sector partners. For building the capacity, reorient and train RWS/W&S/PHE officials, massive capacity building, training and community mobilization programmes have been taken up, for which 104 Key Resource Centres (KRC) have been identified for imparting training at various levels i.e. state, district and village level. All these endeavours are being made to make the Jal Jeevan Mission, a JAN ANDOLAN – PEOPLE’S MOVEMENT.
The JJM has been transforming the face of rural water supply across India over the last two years. Through an integrated service delivery approach, the mission focused on sustainable practices with community-led and community-managed schemes, and source sustainability weaved into the water supply schemes. The transformative approach has allowed for an unprecedented reach to vulnerable communities and for children and women to strive and thrive.
Over and above, Jal Jeevan Mission is an opportunity for local communities to take up water quality surveillance in their villages. In every village, five persons, especially women, are being trained on the use of Field Test Kits (FTK) to test the quality of water supplied, conduct sanitary surveys, and upload the data on JJM portal. All these path breaking initiatives are running parallel with Gandhiji’s vision of GRAM SWARAJ wherein the village communities are vested with decision making powers. (KDC)