The Narendra Modi government has made a four-fold increase in the allocation for Bengal under the Jal Jeevan Mission, a central scheme to provide tap water to households.
The Centre has allocated Rs 7,000 crore, as against the Rs 1,614 crore in the last fiscal. PM Modi had emphasized the project during his campaign in the recently concluded assembly polls.
The state government plans to bring 43 lakh rural households under the plan this year. Last year, Bengal had provided piped water to 12.5 lakh households, falling short of the 55.5 lakh target. It could not fully utilize the amount the Centre had released for the scheme.
The state has decided to put the project on fast track and speed up water connectivity. Bengal has 220 water quality testing laboratories and is planning to get 138 of them accredited by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories.
The Union water resources ministry has advised Bengal to prioritize the project in SC/ST-dominated and drought-prone areas. Around 1,251 villages in the state are affected by arsenic and fluoride contamination in drinking water. These will also be prioritized. The ministry has asked the state to bring in more locals under the scheme and provide them kits to test water samples.
The state will form a Village Water & Sanitation Committee of 12–15 members, half of whom will be women and from weaker sections of society.
Source: Times of India