Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that a year-long programme will be implemented to increase water availability and ensure the quality of water.
Addressing a meeting at the district collectorate here on Monday to review the drought relief measures being undertaken by the district administration, Mr. Chandy said that projects like construction of check dams and rain water harvesting units and purification of water in ponds and stone quarries will be given priority by the State government.
Instructions had been given to convene Assembly constituency-level meetings from Wednesday to resolve drinking water shortage. Senior officials authorised by the district collector should attend such meetings.
The Kerala State Electricity Board had been asked to draw dedicated lines to ensure pumping from sources with ready availability of water. Disconnection of power connection to any drinking water project on account of pending dues should be restored on Tuesday, Mr. Chandy said.
Steps will be taken to replace faulty motors in minor irrigation projects. Two squads centred in Ernakulam and Muvattupuzha will be deployed to check water theft and stringent action will be taken against the guilty.
Administrative sanction had been given to 547 emergency projects worth Rs. 12.38 crore in the district. Of this, 80 per cent will be completed at the earliest. These projects are expected to resolve the drinking water shortage in the district to a great extent.
Mr. Chandy directed convening of a meeting of MLAs and Kerala Water Authority officials to resolve the issues related to drinking water projects in Mulavoor, Asamannoor, and Prayipra regions.
The Chief Minister asked the KWA to ensure supply of more water in Kannamaly regions on alternate days. The arrangement will continue till the completion of the JNNURM project. Water brought in tankers will be distributed through pipelines. The entire cost of this arrangement will be borne by the State government. Earlier, the Chief Minister visited the water-starved areas of Kannamaly.
Revenue Minister Adoor Prakash said that shortcomings in the implementation of drought relief projects will be addressed immediately.
Water Resources Minister P.J. Joseph said that availability of funds was not an issue for the implementation of projects. The State government had decided to pay Rs. 50,000 in advance to grama panchayats. The rest of the funds would be given as soon as the allocation is used up. The minister also asked department officials to ensure the cleanliness of water sources.
Call for funds
Benny Behanan, MLA, demanded more funds for drought relief works in the district and its utilization should be under the supervision of the Sub-Collector. Dominic Presentation, MLA, said that allocation of Rs. 38 crore under JNNURM will help resolve the water scarcity in western Kochi regions.
S. Sarma, MLA, called for immediate completion of the pipe network connecting the pumping line in Paravur with various areas in Vypeen.
V.D. Satheeshan, MLA, called for the efficient utilisation of funds allocated for drought relief works.