By Y.S. RANA, CHANDIGARH: Come 2012 and Shrutis and Kamlas of Himachal Pradesh willno more have to skip their early classes and trek the hilly terrain for two to three kms every day to fetch a pot or two of drinking water, before going to school. “The Himachal Pradesh Government has set the target of providing drinking water to all villages by 2012. About 84 per cent of villages in the state have already been provided drinking water, the highest in the country against the national level of 62 per cent”, the Chief Minister, Mr Prem Kumar Dhumal, told this reporter over the phone. “Bettter still, while under the guidelines of the Central Government, 40 liter of water should be provided per head per day, we are providing 70 liter of drinking water per head per day”, Mr Dhumal added. According to the National Rural Drinking Water Supply guidelines, out of the 53,205 habitations in the state, 41,418 were provided with drinking water facilities up to April, 2011; 11,730 have been covered partially; and only 57 habitations are yet to be covered. “The state government is all set to cover non-covered and partially covered ‘bastis’ by March, 2012. The government has provided drinking water to 15,115 such ‘bastis’ up to March, 2011, and the remaining about 2000 bastis will be provided with water by March, 2012,” Mr Ravinder Ravi, Irrigation Minister, Himachal Pradesh, told this reporter.
At present, there are 7,940 operational water supply schemes in Himachal Pradesh. Out of these, 1,526 are lift-water supply schemes; 6180 gravity water supply schemes; and 234 are tube-wells fed schemes. Outlining broad contours of the government’s various initiatives, Mr Ravi said that there were three big water supply schemes and augmentation work on these would be completed by October this year. The government has taken loan from NABARD and funded the schemes. The Changar area scheme, comprising Dehra, Khundian, Jaisinghpur and Palampur in district Kangra, will cover 398 habitations of 53 panchayats and cost Rs 70 crore.
The state government has also approved water supply schemes worth Rs 39.23 crore for partially covered and non-covered habitations of Jaswan Pragpur area in Dehra Tehsil covering about 80,000 population of 58 panchayats. The source level augmentation scheme in Bilaspur District will provide sufficient drinking water supply to Sadar, Ghumarwin and Jhandutta blocks at the cost of Rs 74.66 lakh. It will benefit 180 villages and 584 habitations of 32 panchayats of the area. Out of the 59 towns in the state augmentation works on the water supply schemes in 43 towns have already been completed.
These towns are Shree Naina Devi Jee, Nadaun, Rampur, Una, Chowari, Kangra, Jawalamukhi, Nahan, Rohru, Santokhgarh, Mehatpur, Dehra, Chamba, Rewalsar, Arki, Daulatpur, Jogindernagar, Manali, Kullu, Kotkhai, Sujanpur, Ghumarwin, Chopal, Sunni, Palampur, Gagret, Nagrota, Hamirpur, Mandi, Nalagarh, Narkanda, Nurpur, Paonta Sahib, Theog, Dalhousie, Shah Talai, Rajgarh, Sarkaghat, Bhota, Solan, Bhuntar, Jubbal and Dharamshala. Besides rehabilitation and augmentation of various water schemes and constructing new ones, the state government is also installing hand pumps. Before 1990, there was no hand pump in the state.
Up to March 31, 2011, a total of 23,331 hand pumps were installed in the state, and out of these, 7,908 were installed during the past three years. During the financial year 2011-12, another 2500 hand pumps would be installed. The minister said that the state government had decided to hand over 21,734 hand pumps to panchayats and these would be provided Rs 200 per hand pump per year to meet their maintenance cost. ”Panchayats will be made partners in the management, operation and maintenance of 7,940 operational water supply schemes and will be authorized to appoint ‘ Water Guards’ for this purpose,” Mr Ravi disclosed.
The Himachal Pradesh Government has also approved a lift water supply scheme in the Arki constituency of Solan District for Rs 28.8 crore. Water will be lifted from Gamber Khad in Arki tehsil, and this scheme would provide sufficient drinking water to 248 habitations and augment 85 existing water supply schemes in the area. A scheme for augmentation of the 16 existing water supply schemes in Barsar Area under Nadaunta constituency of district Hamirpur has been formulated. The Rs 40.12-crore scheme will lift water from Beas river and would cover 197 habitations. EOM