For potable water in each dwelling, Centre sends groups to Bengal, AP

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 6

The Union Jal Shakti Ministry has dispatched expert teams in two opposition-ruled states of West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh to provide assistance to realise the Centre’s goal of “Har Ghar Jal” under its flagship Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM).

Call for “Har Ghar Jal” was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Although the Ministry officials say the sending of the teams is apolitical, two states are on BJP radar for its expansion. Political observers see this more than coincidence, especially with regard the timing.

In West Bengal, the BJP is on expansion spree, to the extent of it winning 18 of the 42 Lok Sabha seats in the state in the 2019 General Election and emerging as principal challenger to the ruling TMC while decimating the dominant Left Front and the Congress.

Assembly elections in Bengal are due next year and the BJP will go full tilt to emerge victorious. In Andhra Pradesh, the BJP is said to be preparing the ground for a surge, just like it did in recent Hyderabad Municipal Corporation election in Telangana, which was carved out of it (Andhra Pradesh). It emerged as the main Opposition, marginalising the regional player TDP, and the Congress in the process.

“The team is visiting different parts of West Bengal and interacting with field-level officials involved with implementation of water supply schemes as well as gram pradhans and members of gram panchayats,” the Jal Shakti Ministry said.

The team is also holding meetings with the Chairperson of the District Water and Sanitation Mission/District Collector to brief them about the progress and seek their intervention for speedy implementation of the programme.

During 2020-21, fund allocation to West Bengal has increased to Rs 1,610.76 crore. With an opening balance of Rs 1,146.58 crore, the state has an assured availability of Rs 2,760.76 crore of Central share funds. During 2020-21, along with state share, Rs 5,770 crore is available under the JJM to provide household tap connections in West Bengal.

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