The Chandigarh administration has written to the Centre seeking clarification as to why it not was considered among the cities that were ranked on the basis of their progress in Jal Shakti abhiyan (JSA).
Superintending Engineer, Public Health, Shailender Kumar told Newsline, “We have sent a mail to the ministry asking them to clarify. Basically, we wish to know the gaps as to why Chandigarh has not been included in the JSA ranking despite making efforts to conserve water.”
It was an embarrassment for the city when it did not figure among the 254 cities, that included all Union territories as well, ranked on the basis of the progress they have made in the campaign.
Jal Shakti abhiyan (JSA) is a flagship programme of the Centre. The progress judged pertains to period till July 29, 2019.
Chandigarh is among those water-stressed cities which has the worst ground water depletion.
To encourage the States and Districts to focus on Jal Shakti Abhiyan, Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation had launched the District rankings based on the progress achieved during the campaign. The ranking was assessing the performance of Districts against Five Intervention areas, Special Interventions and People’s participation.
Six Union territories and several districts in Haryana and Punjab were also part of the 254 cities.
After its intensive campaign for water conservation, Chandigarh is hoping that it will improve its groundwater level. The administration in the last one month has been carrying out activities to encourage people to save water. A competition has also been organised for schoolchildren where innovative ideas to conserve water will be awarded.
The administration is considering making rainwater harvesting and double supply lines mandatory in big houses, complexes, apartments and colonies. An action plan regarding the same has been prepared and the agenda will be placed before the next advisory council meeting.
Larger depletion of water had been observed in states/UTs like Chandigarh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh & Uttarakhand.
The report by the Ministry had stated that groundwater levels in various parts of the Country were declining because of continuous withdrawal due to reasons such as increased demand of fresh water for various uses, vagaries of rainfall, increased population, industrialization & urbanization etc. Central Ground Water Board (CGWB) carries out groundwater monitoring four times a year in different States.
In Chandigarh’s details, it was specified that of the wells analysed, 78 per cent showed fall in water level while 22 percent showed a rise.