JAMSHEDPUR: Keeping in view the "acute" water crisis in several parts of the country, the Centre has released Rs 823 crores to tackle the situation, Union Minister Chaudhary Birender Singh said today.
Altogether 13 states in the country are facing water crisis and ten of them have already declared themselves as drought-hit while Haryana, Bihar and Gujarat, which were also affected, have not done so yet, he said.
Keeping in view the request by various states affected by the crisis, the Centre has released Rs 823 crore, Singh said, adding that states have been asked to spend 10 per cent of the unused fund to improve drinking water condition, electricity or other developmental sector.
The Minister for Rural Development, Drinking Water and Sanitation and Panchayati Raj was in the steel city to review preparation for the Panchayati Raj Diwas function to be addressed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi here on April 24.
Altogether Rs 1,525 crore meant for drinking water was unutilized by various states till date, he said but did not name them.
Rajasthan had responded positively and apprised that it had utilized the fund meant for drinking water, he said.
Asking the people not to rely on monsoon only, Singh emphasized the need for rainwater harvesting to ensure availability of water for drinking, irrigation purposes and others.
Modi has already held three rounds of meeting on the issue, he said, adding, the government has taken initiatives to locate and regenerate reservoirs and water bodies which have dried up.
Referring to Pradhan Mantri Gramin Sadak Yojana (PMGSY), Singh said the government has planned to construct 5.5 lakh km of rural roads to link rural areas with the main road.
Out of the 5.5 lakh km, 4.13 lakh road have already been constructed while the remaining will be constructed in next three years' time, he said.
"We have completed 67 per cent of the road construction work and the remaining will be constructed in next three years time," Singh said.