New Delhi: West Bengal has shown "dismal performance" in the implementation of the Jal Jeevan Mission by providing only 2.2 lakh tap water connections to rural households against a target of 55.58 lakh in 2020-21, the Centre said on Friday. Expressing concern, the Jal Shakti Ministry said 10 districts of the state are gripped by 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 which are to be covered with piped water supply by December 2020, it added. The Jal Shakti Ministry recently held a mid-term review meeting on planning and implementation of JJM in West Bengal during which state officials presented the progress of the programme before the National Jal Jeevan Mission team.
West Bengal has decided to achieve the goal of providing tap water connections to all 1.63 crore rural households by 2024, it said. The state has 22 districts, 341 blocks, 41,357 villages and 1.07 lakh habitations.
"Jal Shakti Ministry reviews implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission in West Bengal; state shows dismal performance and provides just 2.20 lakh tap water connections against a target of 55.58 lakh so far in 2020-21, the ministry said in a statement. The Jal Jeevan Mission, a flagship initiative of the Modi government, aims to provide piped water to all rural households by 2024. Of all the states, Goa is the only one so far to provide piped drinking water to all rural households.
"It was observed in the review meeting that 22,319 out of 41,357 villages of the state have Public Water Supply (PWS), which has the potential to provide about 1 crore tap water connections to remaining households through retrofitting, the statement added. Under the Jal Jeevan Mission, funds are released by the Centre 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 2020-21, fund allocation to West Bengal is Rs 1,610.76 crore. 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 (Panchayati Raj Institutions), 50 per cent of which will mandatorily be spent on water and sanitation, the ministry added. In the review meeting, the Jal Shakti Ministry requested 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. "The Union government is committed to provide full assistance to the state government in their efforts to achieve this goal of universal coverage of water supply to every household, it said.
The ministry also requested the state to ensure all anganwadi centres, ashramshalas and schools are provided piped water supply as part of the special 100-day campaign launched on October 2, so that potable water is available in these institutions for drinking, hand washing, for use in toilets and for cooking of mid-day meals.