Swajaldhara scheme that was launched by the Central Government in 2002 to open up the reform initiatives in the rural drinking water supply sector, has yielded little response in this part of the country.
In the district, 135 Swajaldhara projects were launched in 60 gram panchayats. But, more than 35 projects are lying defunct.
Of these 35 projects, there is no power supply to seven projects while in 10 projects, leaking pipes and their lack of repair have rendered them non-functional. In villages of Saida, Harekrishnapur, Kalkat under Barkote block and Malhaipada and Tuhilamal villages under Reamal block, the scheme remains a non-starter even today.
In Parha gram panchayat, it has been nine years since the project was undertaken. In the first phase of the project, deep borewells were dug, pumps installed and pipes laid. But in absence of electricity connection, the project is yet to supply drinking water to the rural poor. Although power supply was drawn to the pump house last year, it has not been charged till date.
Under this community-based scheme, 10 per cent of the estimated capital cost (five per cent in case of predominantly SC/ST habitations) is paid by the community. The remaining cost is met by the Central Government and the gram panchayat takes up the operation and maintenance responsibility after the scheme is completed.
Executive Engineer of RWSS, Deogarh, S Mohapatra admitted to the bottlenecks in implementation of the scheme. He said steps are being taken to start eight Swajaldhara projects within this month and by April, other non-functional projects would be commissioned.