BHUBANESWAR: Despite suicide by a large number of farmers in 2017 and more than 96 per cent of the villages not having piped water facility, Minister for Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water, Agriculture and Farmers Empowerment Pradip Maharathi claimed that his departments passed with distinction by securing first class in the review of performances by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday.
Official sources maintained that out of the 1,57,773 habitations in the State, 41,514 (26 pc) have access to piped water by March 31 against 32,387 habitations (20 pc) in 2014. The coverage is likely to improve to 29 pc during 2018-19. Besides, 24 mega pipe water projects worth `2436.94 crore have been sanctioned in 15 districts to cover a population of 20.4 lakh. However, the BJD’s manifesto in 2014 had promised that all villages will have universal access to electricity and piped water facility.
The achievements shown by the State Government seems to be contrary to the promises made by the ruling party in the manifesto. However, in a written reply to a question in the Assembly, the Minister had admitted that more than 96 pc families in villages do not have pipe water connection. According to a report of Central Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, out of the 81,49,102 families in Odisha, only 3,02,048 have pipe water connection.
The State Government claimed in a release that out of 6801 gram panchayats in Odisha, 1224 GPs have more than two pipe water supply (PWS) projects while 1625 GPs have two PWSs and 3190 have only one PWS. As many as 760 GPs in the State do not have any PWS. Official sources maintained that projects have been sanctioned so that at least two villages of every GP of the State will have pipe water supply during 2018-19.
Besides, 34,073 partially covered habitations have been fully covered either by tube wells or pipe water projects during April 1, 2014 to March 31, this year. The remaining 14,693 partially covered habitations will be covered before 2018 monsoon, the release said.
The Department said, since 2014-15, as many as 17.10 lakh houses have been constructed in the State by utilising `14,012 crore. Steps are being taken to complete two million houses by July, this year it said and added that 1,01,392 self help groups (SHGs) have been credit linked against the target of 80,000, which is 127 pc of the target.