New Delhi, May 25 (IBNS) The government on Friday said that 90 percent of all rural households in the country will be covered by tapped water system by 2022, as the focus now is shifted from the hand pump approach to the surface water supply system.
Briefing the media after a two-day Conference of State Ministers in charge of Rural Drinking Water Supply and Sanitation, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh said here that at present only 35 percent households in rural India has piped water system.
He informed that while Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh have more than 80 percent rural areas covered by tapped water supply, in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar less than 10 percent areas are under the piped water scheme, as the focus in these North Indian States are more on hand pumps.
Ramesh said, due to absence of electricity in rural and extremely backward areas, some States have demanded solar-energy based drinking water system.
He said that the Centre has already approved installation of solar-based water system in 10,000 villages of 78 naxal-affected districts with an outlay of 540 crore rupees and the project will be completed in 18 months.
The Rural Development Ministry has sought 230 crore rupees as grant from the Finance Ministry for this project.
The Minister said that naxal-affected Gadchiroli district in Maharashtra has already 200 solar-water systems. He said, form 12th Five Year Plan every person in rural India will get 55 litres of water per day as against the current entitlement of 40 litres and the same is 135 litres per person per day in Urban Areas, which the Minister described as biased in nature.
Ramesh said that from the 12th Plan, State Governments can spend up to 62 percent of the funds on improving the water quality, which is at present only 11 percent.
He said, 60 districts have been selected including 20 in Uttar Pradesh to deal with the problems of water borne diseases like Japanese encephalitis and the diseases caused due to excessive arsenic, iron and fluoride in drinking water in the States like West Bengal, Rajasthan, Bihar, Jharkhand, Assam and Karnataka.
On the Sanitation Issue, the Minister said that Total Sanitation Campaign will be changed to Nirmal Bharat Abhiyan and Rs.9,500 will be allocated for the toilet construction in the Gram Panchayats, nearly double the amount currently spent on individual latrines.