A performance audit conducted by the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of rural drinking water supply programme in Gujarat has revealed that all 35,996 habitations in the state were not fully covered with water supply, contrary to the state government’s claim.
The audit conducted between March 2018 and August 2018, covering the period from 2013 to 2018, found out that as of August 2018, out of 17,843 villages in the state, 8,947 villages had been covered under Narmada canal-based projects and 3,893 villages under the source-based water supply projects.
“Government of Gujarat claimed that as on April 1, 2018 all the 35,996 habitations in the state were fully covered. As per the information furnished to audit by the district water and sanitation units of the test checked districts, 41 (53 per cent) out of 78 test checked habitations had been fully covered and the remaining 37 habitations were partially covered,” the CAG report tabled on the last day of state Assembly’s monsoon session mentioned.
A fully covered habitation is in which the average supply of drinking water is equal to or more than 40 litre per capita per day within a distance of 100 metres from the household. Partially covered habitation is one in which the average supply of drinking water is equal or less than 40 litre per capita per day but more than 10 litre per capita per day while uncovered habitation is one which has never been provided with drinking water supply or supplied with less than 10 litre per capita per day by the government.
Further, the report states that the state government claimed, as on July 2018 through IMIS (Integrated Management Information System), that out of the 35,996 households in the state, 33,044 habitations (92 per cent) had pipe water supply As per information furnished by the district water and sanitation units of the test checked districts regarding status of pipe water supply facility in 78 test checked habitations, 64 habitations (82 per cent) were having facility of piped water supply. However, during joint physical verification (April 2018 to August 2018) of assets in the 64 habitations, it was observed that the facility was defunct in 32 habitations.
The CAG report on implementation of rural drinking water supply programme in Gujarat, under Narmada water resources, water supply and Kalpasar department states, “Out of 2,352 villages covered under 91 rural water supply schemes in 8 test checked districts, only 1,587 villages were getting water through rural water supply schemes. Of the remaining 765 villages, 258 had no access to water due to insufficient water at source, non-creation of internal distribution networks, damaged pipes etc. There were underreporting of non-functional water supply schemes even many of the non-functional schemes were not in the knowledge of the department.”
Busting another claim by the state government, the audit reported that state government’s claim that there were no quality-affected habitations in the state was not correct. About 10 per cent habitations in the state had no source of potable water.
“The claim of government of Gujarat was not correct as 20,906 out of 1,30,857 samples (15.98 per cent) failed in the chemical examination conducted by the laboratories of Gujarat Jalseva Training Institute during 2015-16. Similar trend continued in 2016-17 and 2017-18 when 19,171 (15.6 per cent) out of samples 1,22,909 samples and 36,427 19.54 per cent) out of 1,86,431 samples failed in chemical examination,” it states.
“18 per cent water samples tested during 2013 to 18 for chemical parameters in the state was found unfit due to excess content of nitrate, fluoride and total dissolved solids,” the CAG report revealed. Districts with high contamination of nitrate in the state were Chhota Udepur, Dahod, Banaskantha, Panchmahal and Vadodara. These districts along with Kheda were the worst affected by fluoride contamination.
“Out of 245 talukas in the state 198 had no facility of taluka level laboratory. In absence of taluka level laboratory in each taluka, only 32 per cent samples were tested for chemical parameters and 18 per cent samples were tested for bacteriological parameters. During 2017-18, two compulsory chemical parameters of water quality testing — iron and arsenic – were not being tested in any of the laboratories,” the report stated.
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