March 15, 2021 8:10:29 pm
There has been a 12 per cent increase in the number of villages getting drinking water supply through water tankers in Gujarat during the past five years, stated data tabled in the Gujarat Assembly during the ongoing budget session.
The state government that aims to provide piped water connections to all households by 2022, has spent over Rs 135 crore in arranging water tankers between 2015-16 and 2019-20, the government stated in a written reply to an unstarred question posed by Congress MLA Punja Vansh.
During these five years, the districts that had the maximum villages being served with water tankers were Banaskantha (1,136 villages), Kutch (887 villages) and Patan (327 villages). During this period, the cost of supplying water through water tankers rose by a massive 66 per cent to Rs 36.02 crore in 2019-20. The districts that did not witness even a single tanker being deployed for water supply during this period were Panchmahal, Vadodara and Mehsana.
An additional Rs 11.3 crore was spent on water tankers in the first six months (up to September 30, 2020) of 2020-21 fiscal. A total of 373 villages were provided drinking water in first half of this financial year. The government also stated that villages that are currently being served through water tankers will be included in the piped water supply scheme.
Earlier this month, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani told the Gujarat Assembly that the state government intends to provide piped water to all households by 2022, two years ahead of the 2024 target set by Prime Minister Narendra Modi under the “Nal se Jal” scheme. He said the government was spending Rs 4,200 crore and 82 per cent of the work has been finished.
There are more than 93 lakh rural households in Gujarat. Out of 18,191 villages in the state, 17,900 have piped water supply systems, said officials. The state government has seven schemes under the rural water supply programme. This includes water supply schemes based on local surface or underground water sources, Narmada water, electric or solar based piped water supply and water supply to tribal areas and similar schemes for Scheduled Caste populated.
The Gujarat government in the ongoing budget session of the assembly also admitted that it has not been able to provide water to 204 villages in the state despite laying water pipelines. The government cities “technical reasons” in a written reply provided to Congress MLA Gyasuddin Sheikh who asked an unstarred question on the issue of drinking water supply. Of the 204 such villages, the highest are in tribal areas of Dahod (98 villages), Chotta Udepur (65) and Mahisagar (24).
Officials later told The Indian Express that mountainous landscape in tribal areas pose hurdle in supplying water through pipelines. The population in the predominantly tribal districts are also scattered, making it difficult to maintain the water connectivity. The government stated that it will be undertaking a survey of such villages — that do not receive piped drinking water, in spite of existing water pipelines — and will include them phase wise depending on the locally available sources of water.
Supply of water through tankers
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