DEHRADUN: In a move to provide respite to remote and rural areas of Uttarakhand, the state government on Monday announced that rural households will be provided with water connections at Re 1 instead of earlier Rs 2350.
Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said, "The residents of remote and rural areas of the state will have to pay only Rs 1 for the connection instead of Rs 2350. Our honorable Prime Minister aims to provide drinking water to every rural household by 2024. The decision has been taken to provide the basic facility of drinking water without putting them under economic stress."
Sources in the state government said that Uttarakhand is probably the first country to provide water connection at such a nominal fee. Till April 1, 2020 out of total 14,61,910 rural households in Uttarakhand, only 2,17,120 had water supply line according to the central government data.
The water connections are to be provided under center's Jal Jeevan Mission which targets to provide drinking water supply line to every village of the country till 2024. The scheme was launched in August 2019 by Jal Shakti Ministry of the union government.
The union government has already allocated Rs 3.60 lakh Crore for the project. Out of total funding, Rs 2.08 lakh crore will be provided by the center while Rs 1.52 lakh Crore will be be borne by the states. According to the parameters of the scheme, every household should get a supply of at least 55 litres water per person per day.
For the ongoing financial year of 2020-21, the Centre has allocated over Rs 29,000 crore to states in which Uttarakhand's share stands Rs 362.58 Crore. The center has asked the states to speed up works to meet their respective targets and to prepare Village Action Plan (VAP) for every village.
Bishan Singh (43), founder of 'Naula Foundation', the organization which works to resurrect 'Naulas', structures in form of a small temple in which have been used for centuries in remote areas of Uttarakhand as sources not water for household usage said, "The move is good but the government should also pay attention to revive traditional water sources which were kept alive by natural water resources."
Estimates by NGOs and people working for revival suggest that over 64,000 of these water retaining structures existed in the hill state out of which around 60,000 have already dried up.