BHUBANESWAR: Under fire from the Opposition for its failure in providing safe drinking water to the people, the State Government on Saturday directed the Panchayati Raj Department for making provision of water tankers in the blocks experiencing water crisis.
As water scarcity has become acute in many parts of the State, Chief Secretary AP Padhi directed the rural water supply wing of the Rural Development Department to make a block-wise review of the situation and address the problem immediately.
The Rural Development Department has set up a Sanjog helpline with toll-free number 1800234566 to redress public grievances, Principal Secretary of the department PK Mohapatra said.
The Chief Secretary who reviewed the drinking water situation at a high level meeting and asked the department to ensure that each complaint is attended to and resolved within 48 hours.
Grievances received through the toll-free number will be disposed with the information and communication technology (ICT) which automatically tracks and pursues the status of grievance with the action taking authority.
“If no action is initiated by the official concerned, the ICT tool automatically escalates the complaint to the higher authorities,” Mohapatra said.
The Chief Secretary directed the Panchayati Raj Department to set up a grievance redressal cell with immediate effect. The cell to be headed by Director, Panchayati Raj will meet every Monday. It will hear complaints relating to drinking water and take suitable measures to resolve the problems. The cell will function for three months till the end of June. Padhi asked the Panchayati Raj Department to utilise the funds provided to the gram panchayats as per the recommendations of the Fourth State Finance Commission and the 14th Finance Commission for drinking water supply and repair and maintenance of the drinking water projects.
The State Government had provided Rs 1400 crore in 2015-16 to gram panchayats as per the recommendations of the two finance commissions.
The meeting also approved sinking of tube-wells and deep bore wells out of this fund. Admitting the water crisis in the State, Rural Development Minister Badrinarayan Patra told the Assembly last week that the situation may worsen in coming days because of the deficit rainfall last year.