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Saving forests only means to address water woes: Susindro

 Source: Chronicle News Service

Imphal, February 28 2023: PHE minister L Susindro Meitei has said that stopping deforestation at the earliest will be long term solution for water scarcity problem that the state is likely to face in the near future.

In his clarification to the policy cut motions raised by Opposition members in the state assembly during discussion on demand for grant of PHE department on Tuesday, minister Susindro said that water scarcity problem in the state will increase if deforestation continues unabated.

To prevent deforestation, a strict law is required, he said and appealed to members of the House to help in making a law to prevent deforestation at the earliest.

When the demand was moved for discussion and passing, Opposition members K Meghachandra and Th Lokeshwar put up policy cut motions by highlighting scarcity of drinking water, improper implementation of Har Ghar Jal scheme, non- replacement of old water pipeline with new ones, distribution of low-quality drinkipg water, inattention to private water supplies and non-release of liability bills.

MLAs Nishikant Sapam and Surjakumar Okram also gave their observation during discussion on the demand.

Responding to the motions, minister L Susindro said that Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) scheme is being taken up in rural areas to provide drinking water to people while majority of drinking water projects in Imphal areas are being taken up under National Development Bank (NDB).

Drinking water problem is being faced everywhere in the state and this needs to be understood collectively, he said and informed the House that state government has set the target of completion of JJM in December, 2023 though the actual target is August 15, 2024.Regarding quality control of water supply schemes constructed in the state under JJM, the minister said that a third party monitoring team of a company is looking after all the projects and assessing quality.

Before the present government and introduction of JJM in 2019, only 5.74 percent of state's total household used to get tap water but 76.2 percent (3,44,105 out of 4,51,566) households of the state have been provided tap water now.

Out of the total 2,556 villages to be given tap connection, 100 percent tap connection has been achieved in 411 villages, he said and claimed of making significant progress in tap connection to villages.

While informing the House that the department never authorised operation of private water supply schemes, the minister made it clear that source of water falls under the jurisdiction of Water Resources Department but both this department and WRD do not interfere in running of private water supplies.

Nevertheless, a law for running private water supplies could be passed in the next session, he said and appealed to members to help in making an effective law.