SHILLONG: Union Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat in a letter to Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma has expressed concern over the "slow progress" of Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) in the state, officials said on Wednesday.
The northeastern state was allocated Rs 86.02 crore in 2019-20 but due to the "slow progress" of work, Rs 43.01 crore was released, out of which the state could utilise only Rs 26.35 crore, they said.
As announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 15, 2019 the states are implementing JJM with an aim to provide potable drinking water to every rural household through household tap connections (FHTCs) by 2024.
The Union minister has urged the chief minister to "take up works immediately in a campaign mode in 3,891 villages" in the state reported to have piped water supply schemes.
There is a need for proper planning to achieve the goal of JJM within the time frame with focus on augmentation of the existing water supply systems to provide tap connections to remaining households, he said.
"Priority is to be given to saturation of villages in aspirational districts, SC/ ST dominant villages/ habitations and villages covered under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana," Shekhawat said in the letter.
Under the Jal Jeevan Mission, funds are provided by the Centre based on output in terms of household tap connections provided and the utilisation of available funds.
Against the target of providing tap connections to 1.17 lakh households in 2019-20, only 1,800 tap connections were given, according to Jal Jivan Ministry officials.
The Union Jal Shakti minister has also assured the chief minister of his full support to make the state a 100 per cent FHTC state by December, 2022.
The Union minister informed Sangma that allocation for Meghalaya has been increased to Rs 174.92 crore in 2020-21.
Besides this, an opening balance of Rs 17.46 crore, an assured availability of Rs 192.38 crore of Central fund with matching state share, Meghalaya will have Rs 216 crore during 2020-21 for implementation of JJM, the official said.
Shekhawat stressed that providing potable water to every rural household is a national priority and the state should make efforts to accomplish the goal in a time bound manner.