Itanagar: The Arunachal Pradesh government’s initiative to provide tap water to all rural households by 2023 under the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) has received a major boost with the launch of ‘Bestow 1.0’ – a month-long campaign that aims at empowering village communities to provide regular, safe and adequate drinking water through functional household tap connections.

The ‘Bestow 1.0’ campaign was virtually launched by Chief Minister Pema Khandu on Monday.

To mark the launch, Khandu bestowed an in-village component of water supply assets to the Village Water and Sanitation Committee (VWSC) of Ganga village in Papum Pare district. Simultaneously, at the district levels, the district water and sanitation mission (DWSM) chairpersons bestowed the in-village components of the water supply scheme to VWSCs in their respective districts.

JJM, a centrally sponsored scheme, envisions providing safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections to all households in rural India by 2024.

However, the Arunachal government has taken it upon itself to achieve the goal by 2023, a year ahead of the national target.

The programme will include source sustainability measures as mandatory elements, such as recharge and reuse through greywater management, water conservation, rainwater harvesting. The mission will be based on a community approach to water and will include extensive information, education and communication as its key components.

The state public health engineering and water supply department is the implementing agency here and as per its records, as of date, 2101 villages have been equipped with 100 per cent functional household tap connections.

Complimenting the department and congratulating the villages with the successful handing over of the assets, Khandu underscored the role of VWSC, a constituent of the gram panchayat, in the successful completion of the mission as well as its sustainability.

“The role of village committees is critical in planning, implementation, management, operation and maintenance of water supply in the village and in ensuring functional tap connection to each household,” he pointed while interacting with the VWSCs and DWSMs connected virtually from the districts.

“Har ghar me nal aur har nal me jal (tap in every house and water in every tap) and now it is up to you (VWSCs) to keep the water flowing,” he said.

Khandu further informed “to support the JJM and make it successful in the state, the state government has started the Arunachal Jal Sankalp scheme to add to the funds allocated by the Central government.

He, however, expressed concern over the reported water scarcity in few pockets of the state like Longding and said degradation of forest cover and reducing rainfall as the main factors.

He emphasized on protection and preservation of all the water sources being utilized in the implementation of the scheme by the village committees.

Khandu further emphasized having in place a robust catchment area policy to protect water sources and informed the government is working on it.

The month-long ‘Bestow 1.0’ campaign will cover the formation of VWSCs in left out villages, opening bank accounts of VWSCs, adoption of a resolution by communities for water tariff collection, training of at least five women in a village on handling field testing kits, resolution on catchment areas, training on plumbing, masonry and electric motor/pump and handing over of in-village water supply components.

The campaign aims at maximizing the process of handing over in-village water supply components, one of the end products of JJM. The campaign aims to achieve certain milestones on weekly basis to make water supply assets eligible for handing over to village communities.

Among others, the launch programme was also attended by PHE minister Wangki Lowang, chief secretary Naresh Kumar, deputy commissioners and members of VWSCs.

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