A safe water supply is the backbone of a healthy economy yet was woefully under prioritised in the country until Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced in his address to the Nation on its 73rd Independence Day in 2019, from the ramparts of the Red Fort, that India will take forward the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) in the days to come.
JJM is envisioned to provide safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections to all households in rural India by 2024. Launched with the aim of ‘Har Ghar Jal’, the Mission has made a major impact in the lives of the people.
Being implemented in partnership with State governments, JJM ensures ‘no one is left out’ and that the poorest and marginalised as well as the previously unreached are all provided assured tap water supply.
Bamunigaon, a picturesque village, nestled in the greens of surrounding hills near Madan Kamdev temple in Kamrup rural district has all the reasons to rejoice now. The village, inhabited mostly by the Bodos, was once marked by water scarcity, but no longer. All 110 households have access to potable water at home, thanks to the Bamunigaon water supply scheme under JJM.
Piped water is distributed to every household here, planned and implemented by the PHE Department.
“Every day, we need to lift 70,000 litres of groundwater to the treatment plant. After completing prescribed norms of water treatment, we release potable water to every household in our village”, said Bolin Chandra Boro, the man in-charge of operations of the Bamunigaon water supply scheme.
“Previously, we used to collect water from different natural sources. It had a bearing on our daily lives. Now, we get clean water regularly,” says Dunu Boro, a native of the village.
The story is similar in Manipur village of Morigaon district. “Until the third week of March, we had water scarcity. Whatever little water was available had lots of iron content. But with the installation of tap water connection in my house, I get potable water now,” says Kuladhar Keleng (65), a villager in this flood- prone area.
The PHE was entrusted to develop the water supply scheme at Basnaghat in the district. It was later transferred to the Mission.
Dayagiyal village in Morigaon is about 75-odd km from Guwahati. This is one of the five villages where potable water under JJM has been provided to households under the Jagi Bhakatgaon Water Supply Scheme.
Munu Barua (35), wife of a farmer in the village, says that tap water connection to her house was made available in February. “We get water supply twice a day now. Earlier, we had difficulties in accessing clean drinking water,” Munu says.
Villagers in the greater Na-Satra area in the same district had to live for long with scarcity of water besides its contamination. JJM seems to have ameliorated their crisis. Most of them now have access to piped water with regular frequency, thanks to the Na Satra Pani Water Supply Scheme.
Arup Kumar Medhi (43), a resident of Monoha Nasatra village, is one among the beneficiaries. He cannot stop thanking the State and the Central governments for implementing JJM in his village.