Rs.50,000 advance for each grama panchayat to provide drinking water

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy has said that each grama panchayat in the State will be given an advance of Rs.50,000 as an emergency measure to provide drinking water in tanker lorries.

Addressing a review meeting on drought-relief measures in the district at the Collectorate conference hall here on Friday, Mr. Chandy said the drought was a warning to the State; this was the first time that it was facing such a dire situation. Therefore, long-term drought mitigation schemes should be implemented throughout the State.

He said that grama panchayats that provided utilisation certificate of drinking water supply would be given more funds to provide it on a war footing.

Mr. Chandy said the government had relaxed rules and procedures for taking up drought-relief projects. Short tenders could be invited to take up drinking water schemes. An order relaxing rules for drought-relief measures was issued on April 16. The order would be in force till May 30.

He said the rules were relaxed for buying drinking water supply tankers, pumps, and so on.

The Executive Engineers of the Kerala Water Authority (KWA) had been given powers to sanction projects up to Rs.20 lakh from the current Rs.8 lakh.

All ongoing drinking water projects should be completed within a year. Special schemes for providing drinking water in the worst-affected tribal area of Attappady would be executed. Steps were being taken to provide drinking water in tanker lorries in Attappady, he said.

The Chief Minister said that constituency-level meetings would be called to finalise urgent drinking water schemes immediately.

The projects suggested by MLAs would be given top priority after examining their feasibility, he said.

He said the Kerala State Electricity Board was directed to exempt drinking water pumping stations from the power cut.

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