Centre slams West Bengal's 'performance' in tap water connection

Published: 30 October, 2020 20:17 IST | IANS | Mumnbai

In the review meeting, the Ministry stressed the state to speed up the implementation to achieve the target in a time-bound manner by utilising the available funds to avail the allocated funds so as to avoid losing the central grants

Mamata Banerjee
Mamata Banerjee

Mamata Banerjee-led West Bengal sits at the bottom of the performance when it comes to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's pet project -- Jal Jeevan mission which seeks to connect every household of India with tap water by 2024.

Now, the Centre has intervened and held a mid term review specifically focussed on Bengal and what it calls the state's "dismal performance" with just 2.20 lakh tap water connections against a target of 55.58 lakh this year.

The review meet was held in West Bengal where state officials made a presentation. West Bengal has 22 districts, 341 blocks, 41,357 villages and 1.07 lakh habitations.

In the review meeting, the Ministry stressed the state to speed up the implementation to achieve the target in a time-bound manner by utilising the available funds to avail the allocated funds so as to avoid losing the central grants.

Under Jal Jeevan Mission, funds are released by Central government to states and Union territories based on the output in terms of tap water connections provided and the utilisation of available central and matching state share. In this financial year, Rs 1,610.76 crore was allocated to West Bengal.

"Additional funds can be provided based on progress of implementation in form of performance incentive under the mission. In addition, West Bengal would receive Rs 4,412 crore as 15th Finance Commission Grants to PRIs, 50 per cent of which will mandatorily be spent on water and sanitation," said a government statement.

The centre urged Bengal on due emphasis on strengthening of existing drinking water sources for long-term sustainability of drinking water supply systems should be provided.

The state was also asked to well utilize their existing resources through convergence of various programmes like MGNREGS, JJM, SBM (G), 15th FC Grants to PRIs, District Mineral Development Fund, CAMPA, CSR Fund, Local Area Development Fund, etc. at village level and a Village Action Plan (VAP) for 5 years needs to be prepared by dovetailing all these resources.

West Bengal is affected by water contamination, which poses a serious health risk to the inhabitants. The 10 districts of the state are also gripped by another serious health concern that is Japanese Encephalitis and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome, affecting 42.96 lakh households, out of which only 2.34 lakh households (5.4 per cent) have been provided with tap connections.

The state has 1,566 Arsenic and Fluoride affected habitations to be covered with piped water supply by December, this year.

Meanwhile, the Central government has urged Bengal to ensure all the anganwadi centres, ashramshalas and schools are provided piped water supply as part of the special 100-day campaign launched on 2 October, this year, so that potable water is available in these institutions for drinking, hand washing, for use in toilets and for cooking of mid-day meals.

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