Safe Drinking Water A Distant Dream in Kashmir 

SRINAGAR — A number of water supply projects have been delayed across Kashmir due to which people are unable to get safe drinking water.

Advisor to Governor Khurshid Ahmad Ganai, while taking note of this at a meeting of Public Health Engineering (PHE) and Irrigation and Flood Control (I&FC) departments on Wednesday called for taking concrete measures to augment the existing water supply schemes (WSSs) to address water scarcity issues. He emphasised on making Jammu and Kashmir a zero-shortage drinking water state at earliest.

Ganie directed that the funds should be provided for early completion of the projects.  He asked the officials to complete all the incomplete schemes at earliest so that pure drinking water can be provided to the people in water scarce areas.

Ganai emphasized on sustained efforts to harness the State’s abundant water resources in order to provide safe drinking water to every household.

Officials informed the Advisor that the department has forwarded 448 water supply projects with a balance cost of Rs 786.86 crore to the Finance department against which 221 projects with a balance cost of Rs 458.49 crore have been recommended by the High-power committee.

The Advisor, however, stressed upon working out a well-thought-out strategy before framing modalities of new water supply schemes, in particular relating to source depletion and long-term viability. While reviewing the water supply scenario in major cities and towns of the state, he urged the officials to augment the existing water supply schemes so that the demand for drinking water supply is resolved.

It was given out that in order to meet the shortfall of water supply in Srinagar city, WSS Tangnar has been taken up under JNNURM for augmentation of drinking water supply costing Rs 148.37 crore while in Jammu city augmentation of water supply from River Chenab costing Rs 826 crore stands formulated for providing additional drinking water of 240MLD to Jammu city.

The meeting also discussed the water supply scenario of other major towns including Sopore, Baramulla, Anantnag, Poonch, Rajouria, Samba and other towns.

A detailed discussion was held on the streamlining of collection of water tariff to overcome the losses. Advisor stressed on the need to streamline the collection system for the convenience of the people.

It was given out that there is an approved allocation of Rs 1939.29 crore under state sector under various components including PHE, Irrigation, Flood Control and PMDP and that 50 percent of the amount has been expended under various schemes.

The meeting was informed that at present the department is providing safe drinking water to 9292 rural habitations while 6666 habitations are partially covered with the varying service level.

The meeting also discussed the flood protection works being undertaken by the department. Officials said that all the flood protection related works shall be taken on priority and completed as early as possible.

It was said that de-silting and related flood protection works are being executed at multiple places simultaneously in phase-I including at Shariefabad, Naidkhai, Padshahi Bagh, Rambagh and Bemina.  Further re-sectioning of the flood spill channel from Bemina to Naidkhai is being carried out with an expenditure of Rs 82 crore.

The meeting was also  attended by Secretary PHE, I&FC Farooq Ahmad Shah, Chief Engineer PHE, Jammu, Ashok Gandotra, Chief Engineer PHE Kashmir Abdul Wahid, Director Finance, Azad Ahmad Wani, Director Planning MY Bhat, Superintending Engineers and other concerned.

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