Replace annual water charges with monthly bills for public convenience: CS

Chief Secretary, Dr Arun Kumar Mehta
Chief Secretary, Dr Arun Kumar MehtaSpecial arrangement

Srinagar, May 19: Chief Secretary Arun Kumar Mehta Friday directed for dispensing with the practice of charging people annually for water usage and instead asked for breaking the same amount into monthly bills so that the consumers find it easy and less cumbersome.

An official spokesman in a statement issued here said that interacting with officials of the Jal Shakti Department (JSD) and the public after conducting a virtual tour of works taken up under the central flagship programme Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) for their early completion across J&K, the chief secretary said stressed on switching to digital mode of payments for the ease of customers.

He asked the officers about the progress of the mission and asked them to meet the deadlines without fail.

Mehta also urged them to expedite the tendering of remaining works so that these are taken up early and completed within the given timeframe.

He also talked to locals and Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRI) members there and enquired from them about the quality and pace of work going on at each site.

The chief secretary directed that clearances for laying of pipe networks through forests should be provided expeditiously while safeguarding the environment.

He asked for monitoring such issues at the highest level so that no work gets delayed due to lack of attention.

Mehta impressed upon them to involve the members of PaniSamities at every step so that they get accustomed to the nitty-gritty of running these schemes successfully in future as per the mandate of the mission.

He enjoined upon the officers for evaluation of the works besides greater role for public representatives and Paani Samities in monitoring progress of various works.

The chief secretary instructed the officers to carry out assessment of sustainability of source of each water supply scheme.

He also advised them to ensure that people are provided with an adequate quantity of potable water.

Mehta exhorted upon them to secure NABL accreditation of every water-testing lab for third party certification of the quality parameters.

He said that presently the Jal Jeevan Mission was being implemented in the initial years of the ‘Amrit Kaal' period which is quite heartening and one of the prerequisites for ‘ Viksit J&K’ endeavour.

The chief secretary said that with the completion of this mission, every household was going to get a functional tap water connection that embodies in itself a goal of ‘Viksit Bharat Abhiyan’ towards empowering people at the grassroots level.

Principal Secretary, ShaleenKabra informed the Chief Secretary that the mission was under implementation from 2019 and had achieved substantial progress till now.

He said that out of the 18,67,803 rural households, 11,36,497 had been provided the Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTCs) till date.

Mehta said that from December 2022 to May 2023 a total of 77,008 FHTCs had been provided under the JJM.

He said that every remaining rural household would possibly get the tap water connection under this mission by September this year as most of the targets would be completed by then.

The chief secretary gave detailed analysis of the objectives, procedures, progress, and way forward to take the mission to its logical conclusion within the given time limit.

During the meeting, it was further revealed that of the 6714 works, 5403 (81 percent) stands allotted till date.

It was further revealed that 3358 works were currently under progress and 532 works stands completed in J&K.

The works of which the Chief Secretary took the virtual assessment includes Water Supply Schemes at Issoo (Anantnag), Heng (Baramulla), Akhnoor (Jammu), Banderpora (Pulwama), Vijhara (Bandipora), Gulgam, Tangwari (Kupwara), Chowki (Rajouri), Sangaldan (Ramban), Jawalapur (Kishtwar), and Seal (Doda).

Principal Secretary Jal Shakti Department; Mission Director JJM; Deputy Commissioners; Special Secretary Jal Shakti Department; Director Finance Jal Shakti Department; Chief Engineers; Superintending Engineers; and other officers of the Jal Shakti Department were present in the meeting either physically or virtually.

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