The Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti commemorated the Swachh Bharat Diwas (SBD) on October 2, 2022 at Vigyan Bhawan, New Delhi whereby the exemplary works done by States/UTs were conferred on by the President of India, Droupadi Murmu.
On this momentous occasion, Meghalaya was awarded second place under Functionality Assessment of Jal Jeevan Mission, which was received by the Public Health Engineering Department, Renikton Lyngdoh Tongkhar along with the Mission Director of Jal Jeevan Mission, Meghalaya, Syed Md A Razi, BM Lyndem, state coordinator for JJM and other officials.
The functionality assessment of tap connections was conducted by the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti, through a third party, i.e., Hindustan Thompson Pvt Ltd in rural areas of all States/UTs, in 2022. On the basis of the results of the said exercise, the well performed States/UTs were felicitated during the event.
Meghalaya was ranked second in the category States/UTs in JMM implementation, a truly commendable feat for this small Northeastern state. In ‘Har Ghar Jal’ (HGJ) status, Meghalaya was ranked higher than Assam, J&K, Kerala, Manipur, Nagaland, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Tripura, Uttarakhand, Karnataka, Goa, and other states. Meghalaya achieved HGJ status for 597 villages with close to 1500 villages achieving 100 per cent tap water coverage.
“Ensuring safe and adequate drinking water has been our Government’s foremost priority and also one of the most difficult challenges. At the initiation of the JMM in August 2019, only 4,500 of rural households had tapped water connectivity, whereas today over 2.53 lakhs households have tapped water connection, a whopping 55-fold increase in coverage.
Moreover, 100 per cent of households in nearly 1500 villages now have access to tap water, thereby saving them the drudgery of fetching water from far-off places in our hilly terrains. I dedicate this award to every official and staff member of the PHE Department who worked tirelessly to ensure tap water connectivity even in far flung villages of our state,” said Chief Minister Conrad Sangma.
What makes the Meghalaya government’s achievement in ensuring tap water connectivity in remote rural areas truly commendable is the fact that the implementation team had to confront several odds like topographical challenges, scattered households in remote villages and other factors peculiar to this hilly state.
The government also made significant spends of around Rs. 1407 crore in 2022 as compared to just Rs. 27 crore in 2019; a 51 times increase in expenditure to expedite tap water connectivity in the state.
Furthermore, the Williamnagar Urban Water Supply Project Phase-I was also sanctioned recently at an estimated cost of around Rs 122 crore.
Other important projects in the pipeline include Greater Shillong Water Supply Project, the Nongstoin Urban Water Supply Project, the Greater Rymbai Water Supply Project, and the Greater Ampati Water Supply project with a combined budget outlay of 593 crore rupees.
“This award is indeed a great ratification of our relentless efforts in ensuring sustainable drinking water supply and improving the quality of lives of our people. But we have a long way to go and need to sustain this high momentum to achieve our vision of making Meghalaya one of the top 10 states in the country across key Human Development Index parameters,” Sangma added.