Ravi S Singh
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, January 8
The Centre has sent a team to the poll-bound Opposition ruled state of West Bengal to push for speedy implementation of its flagship Jal Jeevan Mission.
This comes amidst a tussle between the Union Government and the Mamata Banerjee-led TMC government in the state on a range of issues, including implementation of the PM-Kisan Samman Nidhi scheme for farmers and Aysuhman Bharat Yojana (free health care scheme).
The Union Jal Shakti Ministry said the visit of an eight-member team from the National Jal Jeevan Mission (NJJM) was “to provide technical assistance to the State for realising the goal of ‘Har Ghar Jal’ under JJM”.
JJM, which was launched on August 15, 2019, aims to provide piped drinking water to every rural household by 2024. It is being implemented by the Centre in partnership with states.
The Union Government’s move comes on the heel of a visit by a four-member team of the Ministry to the state regarding JJM, last month.
The current team will visit Purba Medinipur, Paschim Medinipur, Nadia, Murshidabad, Birbhum, Bardaman, Bankura and Paschim Bardhaman districts of the state.
These districts are in the political cross-hairs of the ruling BJP which has upped the ante to wrest power from the TMC in the state in the upcoming Assembly election, which will be held in April-May.
The team members will interact with the field level officials involved in the implementation of water supply schemes.
Also, they will interface with grass-root elected representatives such as gram pradhans, members of gram panchayats, members of the village water and sanitation committees, and the beneficiaries.
The BJP considers West Bengal a political strategic frontier to conquer.
Although the TMC and the Left parties are foes, they consider the BJP a common enemy.
The Congress and the Left parties will contest the election in alliance. Their tone suggests they are more focused against the BJP.
Reports suggest the BJP had already gone in an election campaign mode. Its president, JP Nadda, is expected to visit the state this week. Union Home Minister Amit Shah is also expected to make a two-day visit towards the end of this month.