BHUBANESWAR: With drinking water crisis assuming alarming proportions in several parts of Odisha due tofast depletion of groundwater and drying up of water bodies, three departments of the State Government have pitched in to assist district administrations in tackling the situation. The State Government has directed Water Resources and Rural Development departments to mobilise their field staff to assist Panchayati Raj department in resolving the drinking water problem of people. The Government took the decision after it found that the delivery mechanism of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) is seriously wanting to meet the exigencies of people.
It has been decided that Ministers and Secretaries of the three departments will directly talk to District Collectors, project directors of District Rural D e v e l o pme n t Agencies, superintending and executive engineers though video conferencing on April 16 to take stock of the situation and decide the best possible action to meet the crisis. Rural Development Principal Secretary Pradipta Mohapatra reviewed the progress of implementation of National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) and sanitation programme with circle superintending engineers and executive engineers of all divisions through video conference here on Tuesday. Though the department planned to supply drinking water from 25,000 spot sources (by sinking tube wells or renovating sanitary wells) during 2015-16, the achievement was 19,395. The department had also targeted to complete construction of 526 of 955 pipe water supply (PWS) projects during the last fiscal. However, about 170 projects could be completed. Progress report of the department stated that about 10,500 PWS projects were commissioned by the end of March, 2016. However, 224 projects could not be made operational either due to lack of electricity or other problems like drying up of intake wells. Sources in the department said 42 PWS projects could not be operationalised due to lack of power supply and non-payment of electricity bill. Out of 1,57,296 habitations in the State, only 10,192 are covered under rural pipe water scheme. The remaining habitations meet their drinking water requirement from spot sources including tube wells and sanitary wells .