10-member committees to monitor rural water schemes

MANGALORE NOV. 13 . The Government has decided to set up 10-member taluk-level committees under the chairmanship of the assistant commissioners to monitor the implementation of rural drinking water supply schemes.

The committees will ensure effective implementation of piped water and mini water-supply projects maintained by the gram panchayats and borewells by the taluk panchayats.

The Assistant Executive Engineer of the Zilla Panchayat Engineering Division of the taluk will be the member-secretary of the committee. The official will be empowered to collect information on status of rural drinking water schemes in the taluk from officers. The secretary will prepare list of non-functional schemes and present it before the committee, which will meet monthly.

Stating this at a press meet here on Wednesday, the Minister of State for Rural Drinking Water Supply, K.B. Koliwad, said the secretary would prepare an action plan in respect of such defunct schemes on the direction of the committee. He said the committee would also meet more frequently during summer and take action to tackle water scarcity.

Mr. Koliwad noted that the committee could also recommend to the Government for release of additional funds through the respective zilla panchayats if the sanctioned amount in the action plan of the body and money provided to the deputy commissioners under the Calamity Relief Fund was found to be inadequate to tackle the problem.

He said the committee would be empowered to take steps to rejuvenate rural drinking water supply schemes if existing schemes stalled due to lack of water yield, or due to technical or other reasons. The chairmen of the committees would provide comprehensive information to the monthly review meet of the zilla panchayats.

Mr. Koliwad, who earlier reviewed the functioning of the progress of various rural drinking water schemes in the district, said the Government had decided to launch "Jala Nirmala" scheme for 11 districts in northern Karnataka at a cost of Rs. 1,100 crore. This would be on lines of the Rajiv Gandhi community-based drinking water and sanitation scheme already underway.

Referring to the demand by the district in-charge minister, B. Ramanath Rai, for the construction of vented dams as a permanent solution to tackle the perennial problem of drinking water shortage in the coastal areas in summer, Mr. Koliwad said he was not personally convinced about the same. He clarified that implementation of the project was a demand pertaining to the Minor Irrigation Department.

He, however, added that this request should be placed before the Chief Minister, S.M. Krishna, for consideration, and urged the elected representatives to make collective efforts in this regard. The minister was informed that there was a proposal to construct 1,489 vented dams in Udupi and Dakshina Kannada districts at a cost of Rs. 306.62 crore. Referring to the demand by the President of the Dakshina Kannada Zilla Panchayat, Jyothi R. Salian, urging him to release Rs. 4.05 crore central funds to execute regular drinking water scheme of the body, Mr. Koliwad promised to do so by this month end. He said the State Government had released Rs. 2.31 crore out of Rs. 2.46 crore for the scheme.

Mr. Koliwad said the Government had decided not to sanction funds for new borewells in the State in view of dwindling water-table. Emphasis would be on recharging borewell by means of hydro-fracturing and augmenting its reach. The Deputy Commisioner , A.K. Monnappa, the CEO of the ZP, Gonal Bheemappa, and the Vice-President of the ZP, M.S. Mohammed, were present.

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