BHUBANESWAR: The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the Assembly on Thursday pulled up the Rural Development (RD) Department for its failure to submit a status report on drinking water scarcity in rural areas of the State.
An acute drinking water shortage is likely to develop across thousands of villages in Odisha after the Centre stopped funds for rural water supply scheme and the State Government not providing adequate funds in its budget due to resource crunch.
The PAC, in its last meeting, had asked the RD Department to submit a status report on the situation giving details about villages not having any drinking water sources.
Besides, it had also asked the Department to submit the number of drinking water sources in villages and progress in implementation of several schemes.
Leader of the Opposition in the Assembly and Chairman of the PAC Narasingh Mishra alleged that an acute drinking water scarcity has already developed in villages as a majority is yet to be covered under any scheme. The PAC expressed its displeasure for delay in submission of the status report and asked the Department to submit a detailed report on the matter within 15 days, he said.
Out of 1,57,296 habitations, only 9,458 are covered under rural pipe water scheme of National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP). The remaining habitations meet their drinking water requirement from spot sources, including tubewells and sanitary wells. Though the Government had planned to cover all gram panchayats (GP) headquarters under pipe water supply projects during the 11th Plan period, 845 GP headquarters were left out.
Official sources said no rural pipe water scheme can be taken up during 2015-16 because of lack of Central funding under the NRDWP. The Centre and the State Government used to provide 50 per cent of the project cost each for implementation of NRDWP.
With only 22 per cent of total habitations covered under pipe water supply scheme and 845 of 6,234 GP headquarters yet to be covered, the State Government has decided to go for an alternative source of finance for implementation of the water supply scheme.