PM launches 'Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain' campaign

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With an aim of taking water conservation to grassroots level through people’s participation across the country, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi launched “Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain” campaign on the occasion of ‘World Water Day’ today.

Addressing an event at the virtual launch of the campaign on the World Water Day, Modi said it is a matter of concern that majority of rain water in India gets wasted. He said the more the rain water is conserved, the less will be the dependence on groundwater.

He also called for creating more awareness about water conservation and increased public participation in such efforts.

The PM also emphasised on the need for involving women in water conservation efforts, saying they understand the value of water better. PM said India’s self-sufficiency is dependent on its water resources and water connectivity, and its fast-paced development is not possible without effective water conservation. “I would like that every penny of MGNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) funds be spent on rain water conservation till the monsoon arrives,” he said.

Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha presided over a UT-level event held at Convention Centre, Jammu to mark the occasion. He called for active participation of elected representatives and people of J&K in rainwater harvesting and water conservation activities.

In order to augment water supply across the UT, the Lt Governor also e-inaugurated and laid e-foundations for various Water Supply Schemes, Irrigation Schemes and Projects worth Rs 117.49 crores, an official handout said. Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor underscored the significance of Jal Shakti Abhiyan campaign for water conservation and administered a pledge for judicious use of water, saving water bodies and harvesting rain water.

He extended his heartiest gratitude to Prime Minister for launching the Campaign on the theme ‘Catch the Rain’ – Where it Falls, When it Falls, which envisages rainwater harvesting during pre and active monsoon season through the convergence of various schemes and initiatives of various departments of the Central and State Governments.

The campaign is being launched as a Jan Andolan which intends to encourage the States/UTs and all stakeholders to ensure storage of rainwater, as rains falling in the four to five months of monsoons are the only source of water for most parts of the country, he added.

Terming Jan Bhagidari as a key component of the campaign, the Lt Governor called upon public representatives and the people of J&K to come forward, recognize their responsibilities to complement government’s efforts, and actively participate in rainwater harvesting and other water conservation activities using new techniques as well as traditional methods to revive water bodies.

“Our existence and prosperity is connected to water which is a great gift of nature. Our ancestors have done significant work in the past to harvest rain water and store it. Now, it is the responsibility of the new generation to work for the revival of traditional methods of rain water harvesting,” the Lt Governor maintained.

There is a need to implement interventions for water conservation like mapping of water resources, preparing water conservation plans through Gram Sabhas, cleaning traditional water bodies, removing encroachments and obstructions in water channels to achieve the desired results on the ground, he added.The Lt Governor made valuable suggestions for rainwater harvesting and water conservation. He stressed on the need to focus on five aspects – water conservation and rainwater harvesting, renovation of traditional and other water bodies, reuse of water and recharging of structures, watershed development, and intensive afforestation.

While making special mention of the extraordinary work done in J&K including rainwater harvesting through 850 water harvesting tanks in Kulgam, Jeevika project in Udhampur and water harvesting by SMVDSB, the Lt Governor called for exploring possibilities for expansion of similar progressive works in other districts as well.

He also suggested for organizing competitions on Rainwater Harvesting to acknowledge the efforts put in at Panchayat and Block level for promoting rainwater harvesting.

Emphasizing on preparing integrated plan for water stressed areas and to tackle challenges of the climate change, the Lt Governor asked for establishing Rain centres for technological guidance on rain water harvesting and Jal Samitis in every Panchayat to support rain water harvesting initiatives. Laying special emphasis on preserving water bodies, the Lt Governor suggested for developing Mobile Application for monitoring of water bodies health and seeking feedback from the public so that administration and people can work together to save and revive the water bodies and wet lands, rejuvenation of small rivers, and conservation of water resources, with maximum involvement of youth.

The Lt Governor stressed on focusing rainwater collection, storage, afforestation, check dams, raising awareness on the importance of freshwater availability, conservation of water resources and ill-effects of degraded and depleting water resources.

“Under Jal Jeevan Mission, we are targeting to provide piped water supply (Har Ghar Nal se Jal) to every household. Central Ground Water Board has put all the districts of J&K in safe category. However, we need to work on mission mode to increase ground water level,” said the Lt Governor. The Lt Governor, according to the statement, asked the concerned departments to maintain close synergy and undertake timely initiatives for effective execution of water conservation activities.

M Raju, Commissioner/Secretary to the Government, Jal Shakti Department gave welcome address and briefed about the  achievements of Jal Shakti Department .

Chairman DDC Jammu, Bharat Bhushan and Deputy Mayor JMC, Smt Purnima Sharma also spoke on the occasion. DDC Members, BDC Chairpersons, Sarpanchs , Panchs were also present.

Artists raised awareness about importance of Water and Jal Jeevan Mission through Cultural performances.

BVR Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary; Administrative Secretaries ; Raghav Langer, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu; Anshul Garg, Deputy Commissioner, Jammu were present. District Headquarters were also connected through virtual mode during the event.

Projects e-inaugurated

The projects costing Rs 48.54 crores e-inaugurated by the Lt Governor today include- Construction of Upper Chicka Siddimong Khul, Rajouri; Water Supply Schemes at Heavan Colony, Bandipora and Gordi Jagir, Udhampur; Filtration Plant at Takia Nagam for WSS Mir Mohalla, Bonpora, Budgam ; augmentation of Basantpur Pumping Station, Kathua; Water Supply Scheme Gakhran Gunthal, Poonch and Construction of – Kenzi Khul, Budgam; Kuligam Khul District Kupwara; Khurhama Khul, Kupwara; Jinder Khul,  Bandipora

The projects worth Rs 68.95 cr for which the Lt Governor laid e-foundation includes- Modernization of Grimtoo Canal, Kulgam; Flood Protection Works to Shalpathri Devibal Temple at Khanpora Baramulla; augmentation of Water Supply Scheme Samotha, Samba; Retro fitting of Water Supply Scheme Sargal, Samba; Water Supply Schemes at Barakh and Sool Patwar, Reasi; Construction of Filtration Plant under WSS Alusteng, Srinagar; providing and laying of 800 mm/700 mm DI supply main from Soura to Saidpora Srinagar; besdies construction of Flood Protection works on both banks of Neeru Nallah at Bhaderwah, Doda and by way of plugging creek of Naj and Bhini river, Part-II, Kathua.