New Delhi: Months before the scheduled assembly elections in the state, Bihar has given a push to implementing the Narendra Modi government’s flagship ‘Har Ghar Nal Se Jal’ programme, which envisions providing drinking water connections to every rural household by 2024.
Between 1 April and 30 June 2020, Bihar has provided functional tap water connections to 4.39 lakh households, the second-most of any state or union territory in India, as against its target of 1.5 crore households for the full financial year 2020-21.
A senior official in the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation under the Ministry of Jal Shakti, which is implementing the project, praised Bihar, but ruled out any connection with the upcoming elections.
“Bihar has been very proactive from the beginning as far as implementing the ‘Har Ghar Nal Se Jal’ scheme is concerned. The state is likely to achieve its target of providing 100 per cent functional household tap connections by 2021, three years ahead of the fixed timeline,” the official said.
Best and worst performers
The ‘Har Ghar Nal Se Jal’ programme, which envisages providing potable drinking water to every rural household in India by 2024, was launched last year with a total outlay of Rs 3.60 lakh crore. While the Centre’s share is Rs 2.08 lakh crore, the remaining Rs 1.52 lakh crore is to be borne by states. The ‘adequate’ quantity of water defined under the programme is 55 litres per person per day.
Among the states and union territories, Telangana has provided the highest number of drinking water connections — 4.47 lakh. Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana, Karnataka and Gujarat have also provided functional tap connections to over 1 lakh households so far this fiscal.
The pan-India figure between 1 April and 30 June stands at 19.58 lakh tap connections, as against the full-fiscal target of 5.98 crore.
“In a majority of the states, work related to water supply had continued in rural areas during the lockdown period too, providing work to the skilled and semi-skilled workers,” the official quoted above said. “At our end too, we have been holding review meetings with different states almost every day to track the progress and chase our goal.”
The official added that besides Bihar, Telangana and Goa are also expected to meet the target of providing piped water to 100 per cent of rural households by 2021, three years ahead of schedule.
However, not all states and union territories are doing well. Tamil Nadu, Sikkim, Puducherry and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands have not provided a single tap connection this fiscal.
The states of the Northeast, along with West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Kerala, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Odisha and Punjab are also far behind their targets.
West Bengal, for instance, has been able to provide 7,356 household taps so far as against the target of 32 lakh this fiscal. Assam has provided 11,919 household taps against the target of 13 lakh, while Odisha’s figures stand at 11,657 and 17 lakh, respectively.