Temple town Puri recently became the first in India to provide 24X7 water supply to its 2.5 lakh residents and over two crore tourists who visit the town every year.
For records, the Union government’s Jal Jeevan Mission promises drinking water to every household in India by 2024. This small town in Odisha achieved what no other city could in so many years.
‘Sujal-Drink From Tap Mission’
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched the ‘Sujal-Drink From Tap Mission’ in the last week of July. Under the plan, 120 drinking water fountains were fitted on the road that leads to the Jagannath Temple. About 32,000 metered taps have been set up across the town. The government scheme is creditable because of its all-inclusive nature. To start with, ‘Sujal-Drink From Tap Mission’ will include 66,000 slum-dwellers as well. This means that Puri residents and tourists will now get potable water at any place any time.
The Odisha government plans to start 24X7 water supply in 114 cities of the state and benefit 40 lakh residents in all.
Quality of water
The Patnaik government has made provision for maintaining quality of water, which has been given top priority under the Jal Jeevan Mission. Accordingly, water quality monitoring will be done by setting up laboratories with private support so as to keep a watch on the government machinery involved in piped water supply. These labs will be on the move, visiting localities for on-site testing and addressing complaints on the spot.
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The quality of drinking water will be in accordance with IS 10500 specifications set by the Bureau of Indian Standards. To win people’s faith, the state administration will set up LED boards at various locations to provide up-to-date information on water quality.
Consumers’ complaints will be taken up by way of a centralised monitoring system which uses geographical information systems (GIS) and provides real-time data on status of grievances, if not resolved.
Queries related to leakages, delayed or compromised supply will be monitored using special mobile units that will provide immediate response, as per the plan.
“The state government has planned to cover all urban areas of Odisha by March 2022, making it the first state to do so in India. Supplying drink-from-tap quality water to every home, similar to developed nations like USA, England, Japan, Singapore,” said a statement issued by the state government.
Women in charge
The Odisha government envisions ‘Jalsathis’, an all-women team, whose members will be taken from self-help groups. These women will primarily manage consumer complaints at the municipal ward level. To reach 10,000 plus houses in the state, the government will employ services of more than 5,000 Jalsathis. Once trained, the women will provide new tap connections, generate bills and even collect charges, besides propagating the message of “save water”.
The Jal Jeevan Mission is Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s pet project which was launched on August 15, 2019, to give piped, drinking water to every rural household by 2024.
A statement issued by the Union Ministry of Jal Shakti in March this year states that 7.24 crore rural households, which is 38 per cent of the total households in the state, will now get drinking water through taps.