Special Correspondent

Bangalore: Minister for Rural Development and Panchayat Raj Jagadish Shettar on Wednesday told the Legislative Assembly that all Chief Executive Officers (CEOs) of zilla panchayats and Deputy Commissioners of districts had been instructed to prepare action plans to tackle drinking water problem in villages on a war-footing.

In a reply to a calling attention motion of A.S. Patil of the Congress, Mr. Shettar said CEOs and Deputy Commissioners had been told to prepare plans and set aside funds to mitigate drinking water crisis in April and May in villages which had been facing severe water crisis. There was no shortage of funds in the Department and funds would be provided to take up works suggested by Task Forces headed by legislators, he said.

Earlier, Leader of the Opposition Siddaramaiah alleged that the Deputy Commissioners had been facing shortage of funds to take up drinking water-related works in Mysore and Chamarajangar districts. Since many villages would face severe water problems in this summer, he urged the Government to release funds for CEOs and Deputy Commissioners. Mr. Shettar said the Bijapur district has been included under the integrated drinking water supply project, which was being executed by the Karnataka Urban Infrastructure Development and Finance Corporation (KUIDFC). The district has 1,050 rural habitats and Rs. 40.38 crore had been released in 2009-10 and Rs. 36.82 crore had been spent till January 10, he added.

Under the Centre's drinking water programme, nine projects (Rs. 38.72 crore) had been sanctioned to Bijapur district and work on one project had been completed. Another 10 projects costing Rs. 57 crore had been approved for the district to augment drinking water supply, Mr. Shettar said.