The Jal Shakti ministry last week had announced that Goa is the first state in the country to have 100% tap water connections in rural areas of the state, covering 2.30 lakh households recently, but the ground reality seems to be completely different.
Gajendra Singh, the Union Jal Shakti minister, had announced that Goa provided for 2.63 lakh houses with pipped tap connections. This, according to the ministry’s data is divided into 98,000 houses in South Goa and 1.65 lakh houses in North Goa.
However, as pointed out by a local newspaper report, it is learnt that the ground reality in the state is completely different.
To put it to perspective, in April this year, Chief Minister Pramod Sawant had announced that 87.11% of the households in the state had potable piped water connections. This now has been marked to 100% by the Union ministry last week.
However, according to the report, a survey conducted by the Panchayat department, and its data showed a completely different picture, pointing out in a different direction.
It is learnt that the state cabinet met about a month ago to decide on the implementation of the central government’s scheme of ‘Har Gar Nal se Jal’, which aimed at providing piped water connection to every household in the state.
Subsequently, the state PWD department was roped in to prepare a report, and in its findings, the department pointed out that nearly 30,000 houses in the state were still without a piped water connection.
Accordingly, the Panchayat department has entrusted with the task to prepare another report, and it found that 15,000 households had no water connections.
Shockingly, the state government is learnt to have gone ahead and made the claims that it has 100% of households connected with water connection, while the reports which pointed out towards the households not yet connected were not really considered seriously.
Through this central scheme, the Union government has sanctioned about Rs 68 crore to the state to implement its scheme, but the Goa government has gone ahead and declared itself 100% Har Gar Jal.
The government, going ahead with its false claims, has made a major embarrassment to the state’s image, as, before the implementation of the scheme to the fullest, it went ahead and declared itself that 100% of households are connected with piped water.
On the ground, many have pointed out that certain remote villages and houses still rely on water bodies and nearby lakes and rivers for their daily water needs. Also, several urban areas at times face water scarcity, and as such, the 100% claim proves to be pointless on the ground.
The Congress party meanwhile has asked the government to prove its 100% claims, saying that this is another ‘jumala’ of the Modi-led government.
“The tall claims made by Jal Shakti Ministry that Goa is the first state in the country to provide 100% tap water connections in rural areas is another ‘jumala’ because people in the villages still depend on their wells or nearby rivulets for daily consumption of water,” North Goa Congress president Vijay Bhike said.