NEW DELHI: Hire private bore wells where ground water yield is more and equally distribute it to affected population, the Centre has told the district collectors of drought-affected regions. The decision was taken during an emergency meeting chaired by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha.
Sources said the government has asked the states to use flexi funds of the national rural drinking water programme to meet the expenditure on renting bore wells and several other emergency measures. Flexi fund is a component within the Centrally sponsored schemes to provide flexibility to states to meet local needs.
As many as 10 states - Maharashtra, Telangana, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan - were declared drought affected in April first week while three others, Gujarat, Haryana and Bihar, will soon be added to the list.
The government in a missive to all states has asked for immediate repair and maintenance of all water supply systems, hand pumps and bore wells. Since the water table in many states has gone down, they have been told to procure riser pipes to increase the yield of the hand pumps. “Sufficient number of riser pumps may be used to increase the availability of drinking water in the affected areas. Wherever water reservoir/ponds are available, they may be used to increase the capacity of drinking water through piped water supply system,” it said.
Currently, Rs 2,365 crore are available with the states as Central share of drinking water programme. Another Rs 819 crore was released on April 12 to all states as part of the first instalment of the rural drinking water programme for 2016-17. The Centre has asked the states to utilise the portion of money along with the State share to deal with water crisis.
Wherever hiring of private bore wells and repairing is not possible, water should be transported through water tankers.