More than 26 million families have been provided with piped drinking water connections under the Jal Jeevan Mission in the past one and a half years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while laying the foundation stone for rural drinking water supply projects in the two districts of Uttar Pradesh (UP). The projects are expected to be completed in the next two years.
The two UP projects — estimated to cost over Rs 5,555 crore — will provide household tapwater connections to all the 2,995 villages in the two districts of Mirzapur and Sonbhadra, benefiting 4.2 million people. “The Jal Jeevan Mission has made the lives of our mothers and sisters easier. It has also helped in improving the health of several poor families by eradicating encephalitis and typhoid,” said Modi.
He said piped drinking water reaching thousands of villages will also improve the physical and mental health of children. Despite UP’s abundant resources, several rivers in the Vindhyachal and Bundelkhand regions are still dry. This has forced many to migrate, he lamented. UP is among the five states with the least number of functional household tapwater connections, with 6 per cent coverage so far in rural areas.
Water is still a pipe dream for many in the states of West Bengal, Assam, and Meghalaya, and the Union Territory of Ladakh. The Jal Jeevan Mission is expected to address the issues of water scarcity and irrigation in the two districts of UP and also push development. “A self-reliant India derives its strength from its self-reliant villages…when one gets the freedom to take decisions and work on those decisions for the development of the village, it increases the confidence of its residents,” said Modi.
The state has constituted water and sanitation committees in all the villages in the two districts, which will shoulder the responsibility of operation and maintenance of the projects. The government has so far provided over 58-million tapwater connections, covering 30 per cent of rural households.
So far, Goa is the only state with 100 per cent tapwater coverage. Bihar, Puducherry, and Telangana are expected to have full coverage by the end of 2021. The cost of the Jal Jeevan Mission is estimated to be Rs 3.6 trillion, of which the central share constitutes Rs 2.08 trillion.