Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on Monday said the state will provide 100 per cent potable piped water connections to all rural households by 2022.
In a video conference with Union Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, Singh said as on April 1, 2020, 17.48 lakh households in the state were getting piped water supply.
By 2020-21, another 7.6 lakh households will start getting potable water and by 2021-22, around 10 lakh households will be added, Singh said.
In terms of habitations, the state has already covered 92 per cent of the rural habitations with piped water supply network, and 50 per cent rural households have been provided with individual household water connections, said Singh.
The chief minister further sought reduction in Goods and Services Tax on treatment plants from the current 18 per cent to 5 per cent, in order to make the Jal Jiwan Mission (JJM) schemes sustainable in the long run, as per government statement.
Singh also urged the Union minister to recognise the 1,449 Kandi belt villages as ‘Hill Area’ to reduce the beneficiary contribution, from 10 per cent to 5 per cent, for construction under the JJM.
On the issue of the Kandi belt villages, Singh said the state government had been repeatedly raising the issue with the central government for the last two years, but no action had yet been taken.
These villages are akin to neighbouring villages of Himachal Pradesh which are receiving funding on a 90:10 sharing basis, with beneficiaries residing there required to contribute only 5 per cent towards the cost of the scheme, he noted.
The Kandi belt villages should also be treated on par to facilitate the beneficiaries, particularly in view of the high cost of boring tubewells and construction schemes, the CM said.
Underlining the state''s consistent focus on service delivery parameters for water supply, the chief minister said that the norm fixed is 70 litres per capita per day and 10 hours supply per day.
However, there are many villages where the state has been able to achieve round the clock supply also, he added.
To ensure financial sustainability for operations and maintenance of rural piped water supply schemes, the water tariff is being levied and collected at a rate of Rs 135 per household per month for water supply.
During 2019-20 a total of Rs 92 crore was collected on account of user charges, which were utilised for payment of electricity bills and maintenance of water supply schemes, he said.