Abundant resource wasted
Kashmir is one such place in the world which is bestowed with abundant water resources. Even today when most of the water bodies are witnessing huge pollution many of our water resources are usable for various purposes including drinking needs.
Many regions across Jammu region and Kashmir as a whole, has abundant water resources. And most of it is pure in form as the origin of this water is glaciers and snow. However, most of the far off regions in this part of the world are not getting potable drinking water, making the lives of commoners miserable.
Despite the past governments promising potable water to all the households the claims remained confined to papers only. Even in remote Kandi and hilly areas of Kashmir region people have to walk several kilometers daily to get potable water for their daily use.
However, the administration has now accorded sanction to the implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) and roadmap to achieve 100 percent coverage of piped water supply by December 2021 across Jammu & Kashmir aligning it to the National Mission of Jal Jeevan.
The objective of the mission is to provide Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC) to every rural household with priority to desert/drought prone and border areas, schools, anganwadi and health centres etc. Under the mission, sustainability of water supply system shall be ensured besides empowerment and development of human resource in the sector so as to meet the demands of construction, plumbing, water quality management and other purposes.
Under the National Jal Jeevan Mission, every rural household of the country will be connected with piped water supply by 2024. At present, 30.5% of J&K’s rural households have piped water connections compared to the national average of 18%. Special focus will be laid under the mission to provide FHTC to remaining 11.12 lakh rural households out of 16.02 lakh in J&K as per Integrated Management of Information System (IMIS) data of JJM.
To achieve 100 percent coverage under JJM in a phased manner by December 2021, the PHE Department has carried out a detailed exercise to prepare District Water Security Plan through the District Water and Sanitation Mission headed by the concerned Deputy Commissioners.
In the initial phase, seven districts Poonch, Reasi, Samba, Srinagar, Ganderbal, Shopian and Pulwama will be covered for 100% piped water supply by June 2020. In the second phase, seven more districts will be covered by June 2021 and the remaining six districts shall be covered in the third phase ending December 2021.
However, mere providing of potable water does not suffice the common man’s interest. The Jal Shakti Department has over the past few years started to raise hefty bills to the consumers even though we are a water abundant place. The department needs to learn some lessons from its counterpart in Delhi where 20 thousand litres of water is provided free to every household.