Puducherry becomes ‘Har Ghar Jal’ Union Territory
Puducherry has earned the distinction becoming become the ‘Har Ghar Jal’ ( every house with water tap) UT in the country by ensuring that its every rural home now has a household tap connection.
With this, the UT becomes the fourth State/UT after Goa, Telangana and Andaman & Nicobar Islands to provide assured tap water supply to every rural home under Union Government’s flagship programme, Jal Jeevan Mission.
Despite challenges faced due to CoVid-19 pandemic, Jal Jeevan Mission is being implemented in partnership with States/ UTs to provide safe tap water in adequate quantity of prescribed quality on regular and long-term basis to every rural home by 2024.
Puducherry’s achievement is another timely indicator of JJM’s success as people living in rural areas can practice regular handwashing at home and maintain physical distancing by avoiding crowds at public stand posts.
Though the achievement got delayed due to Assembly elections, the efforts of the UT Administration in eventually completing the mission is nevertheless praiseworthy.
All 1.16 lakh rural households in Puducherry have tap water supply now. The UT has achieved the ‘Har Ghar Jal’ status much ahead of the target fixed. During Annual Action Plan finalization of the UT in April, 2021, it was urged to utilize various funds available through the convergence of different programmes like MGNREGS, JJM, SBM (G), 15th FC Grants to PRIs, District Mineral Development Fund, CAMPA, CSR Fund, Local Area Development Fund, etc. at the village level and the Village Action Plan (VAP) are to be prepared by dovetailing these resources for achieving long-term drinking water security.
The UT is also planning to get NABL accreditation/ recognition for its water quality testing laboratories and take up testing of all drinking water sources on a campaign mode.
Meanwhile, the State of Punjab and the UTs of Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu have also crossed the milestone of covering 75% of rural homes with assured tap water supply.
26.31 lakh households (76%) of Punjab out of 34.73 lakh have tap water supply and the State of Punjab plans for 100% coverage of all rural households by 2022.
Coming back to the UT of Puducherry, it is now planning for effective treatment & reuse of greywater coming out of homes. The UT is actively working towards water source sustainability.
The four regions, namely Pondicherry Region, Karaikal, Yanam and Mahe region are at different locations, geographically separated from each other.
Puducherry is blessed with various rivers and tributaries. Five rivers in Puducherry district, seven in Karaikal district, two in Mahé district and one in Yanam district drain into the sea, but none originates within the territory.
Puducherry has 84 irrigation tanks and more than 500 ponds which are the lifeline for groundwater recharging systems, drinking water and agriculture. Puducherry has been consistently working towards de-silting of ponds & rejuvenation of its local water bodies, which is crucial for drinking water supply schemes. An effective community mobilisation & participation is achieved through a well-charted IEC plan by the UT.
It may be noted that JJM is a flagship programme of the Union Government, which aims to provide tap water connection to every rural household of the country by 2024.
Under Jal Jeevan Mission, in 2021-22, in addition to Rs 50,011 Crore budgetary allocation for JJM, there is also Rs 26,940 Crore assured fund available under the 15th Finance Commission tied-grant to RLB/ PRIs for water & sanitation, matching State share and externally aided as well as State funded projects. Thus, in 2021-22, more than Rs. 1 lakh Crore is planned to be invested in the country on ensuring tap water supply to rural homes.
This kind of investment in rural areas is bound to boost the rural economy.