Swajaldhara gaining momentum



Water today is perceived by the public as a social right, to be provided free by the Government, rather than as a scare resource it should be managed locally as a “economic good”. Swajaldhara is essentially a process project in creating demand driven approach for establishing constant Rural Drinking Water Supply System in the State. The Central Government has issued detailed guidelines in June, 2003 for the implementation of the Swajaldhara which envisages creation of three tier institutional set-up, at State-level, District-Level and Panchayat/village- level which has already been created in the State for the purpose.

  1. Community contribution of 10% and Govt. of 90% of the capital cost envisaged under Swajaldhara.
  2. 108 scheme proposal worth Rs. 2717.28 lakh for 2006-07 would generate activities under the programme.
  3. Govt. decided to handover 10% of Water Supply Schemes to PRIs.

Swajaldhara have two Dharas (streams) under 1st and 2nd Swajaldhara. Under 1st Dhara (Swajaldhara-1) Gram Panchayat (GP) or a group at GPS or an Inter-mediate Panchayat (at Block/ Tehsil-level) are covered and the 2nd Dhara (Swajaldhara-II) will have a District as the Project area. Services of NGOs are being utilized for activities such as social mobilization, communication and capacity-development through participatory mode. Rural Appraisal training and implementation of the schemes. Since collection of drinking water in villages is primarily done by the women, they are also actively involved in planning, choice of technologies, location of systems, implementation, operation and maintenance of water supply schemes.

The Swajaldhara programme envisages motivating, and mobilizing community to take active part in implementation of new schemes and renewal of existing Rural Drinking Water Schemes, adoption of demand responsive and adaptable approach for ‘Swajaldhara’ alongwith community participation based on empowerment of people at the villages -level. It also envisages ensuring full participation of community in the project through their decision-making role in the choice of the drinking water scheme, planning, design, implementation, control of finances and management arrangements, mobilizing and empowering the community for implementation of rural water supply schemes on partial capital cost sharing with community contribution of 10 percent and Government Contribution @ 90 percent of the capital cost. Community Contribution could be 50 percent in cash and remaining 50 percent in the shape of labour if community can not contribute 100 percent of its share in the shape of cash. The programme would strengthen of community, community based organization and Panchayati Raj Institutions for developing effective mechanism for financial and technical sustainability of scheme by themselves with full community ownership of drinking water assets.

Taking up of conservation measures through rain water harvesting and ground water recharge systems for sustained drinking water supply would also be envisage under the Swajaldhara mode. Swajaldhara programme with people’s participation is being propagated throughout the State and schemes amounting to over Rs. 34.63 crore have been sanctioned under the scheme from 2002-03 upto 2005-06. From the year 2002-03 onwards about 1697 schemes involving an estimated amount of Rs. 3462.73 lakh were got approved under Swajaldhara mode for the State, out of which 333 schemes have since been completed and work on the remaining schemes is in progress. 108 schemes proposal worth Rs. 2717.28 lakh for 2006-07 would also generate activities under the programme after getting approved from the Central Government. During 2002-2003, 471 proposals. involving an amount of Rs 714.70 lakh were approved by Government of India. The central share of Rs 605.54 lakh was released by the Central Government and 439 schemes were taken up for execution. 204 schemes have been completed upto 31st December, 2005 and remaining 235 schemes are at final stage of completion. In 2003-04, 243 schemes involving an amount of Rs 747.55 lakh were approved by Government of India. a sum of Rs. 420.80 lakh has been released as its share. 153 schemes were taken up for execution; out of which 29 schemes have been completed and work on remaining schemes is in progress. In the year 2004-2005, 440 Schemes with an estimated cost of Rs 749.66 lakh were approved by government of India. The 1st installment of central share of Rs 507.87 lakh was released on 31st March, 2005. 427 Schemes have been taken up for execution, out of which 100 schemes have been completed.

For the year 2005-2006, an amount of Rs 1250.82 lakhs has been allocated to H.P State. Ist shelf of 328 Schemes with an estimated cost of Rs 1049.91 lakh has been approved by Government of India and Central share amounting to Rs 787.45 lakh was released and the work on the execution of schemes has been taken up in hand. 2nd shelf of 215 schemes for an estimated amount of Rs 657.71 lakh have been sent to Government of India for approval.

The State Government has also decided to handover 10 percent of water supply Schemes to PRIs very soon for which modalities are being worked out. To ensure water quality, Government has also directed to complete construction of source, tanks, sources protection and sanitary protection of various Water Supply Schemes. During 2005-06 , 1950 habitations have been provided with drinking water facility at a cost of Rs 118.52 crore in the State.

Now 3020 more P.C. habitations would be covered during current financial year in the State. Government is committed to provide drinking water to all habitants of the State by the end of 2008. State Government is also laying emphasis on water conservation measures by constructing more rainy water-harvesting students and avoiding misuse of water. Swajaldhara would enable the community to have access to acceptable, adaptable, sustainable and affordable safe drinking system. It will also mark the beginning of a new and more challenging phase in the process where the local community has to shoulder the responsibility of operation and maintenance of the system. The community will have to arrange for periodic quality of water being supplied as well as ensure sustainability of sources. It would also require high degree of community mobilization and awareness. The Swajaldhara programme would not only solve drinking water problem in rural areas but also provide plenty water in scarcity areas of the State.

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A perfect story-teller, who is madly in love with the hills. Shimla is his first love, and probably the last too. Won't get tired reading Rudyard Kipling. Hopes to pick up poetry again soon.

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  1. A project proposal has been prepared and intend to submit under the scheme to State Govt. and also to GOI, Please let me know the exact funding agency.

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