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Safe drinking water for all by 2020, promises Felix

From Our Correspondent

Itagar Feb 1: Aruchal Pradesh PHE & WS Minister Bamang Felix on Tuesday reiterated the state government’s commitment for providing safe drinking water to the people of the state by 2020. “My vision is to provide treated drinking water for all by 2020 and make Aruchal an open defecation-free state by 2018,” he said while addressing the first coordition meeting of PHE department officers here, an official communiqué informed. He said, if the things work out as per the vision plan, Aruchal would be second after Sikkim to complete the project before time set by the Centre, 2021 for drinking water and 2019 for open defecation free state. While observing that PHED was not just an executing department only dealing with constructions, Felix asserted that it is an important social sector department mandated with one of the most important task of providing potable drinking water. “It is a vista of providing better and dignified living for our people. The Public, Health and Water – PHED & WS are three corner stone of the department. The responsibility therefore is very large,” the minister said. On reviewing the work of the department, the minister appreciated the officers and staffs for the good work. He, however, called for translating the good into excellent. While unleashing his plans and vision for the department, Felix said that steps were on for identifying and protecting the catchment areas, the source of water should be initiated on priority.

“Our planning for water supply is concentrated on number of years in accordance to the growth of population in next 30-40 years. But we fail to ensure that the catchment area/perennial source from where the water is being extracted would be capable enough to fulfill the requirement till the period of project,” Felix observed. He pitched for protecting the catchment areas through a policy which would ensure protection of such perennial sources and make it a safe zone for future consumption.  He called for a parallel effort from the department to work in tandem with the environment and forest department to conserve the lush green forest which is the main source of water.

Felix while disclosing strategies to achieve the desired target opined to make a concrete execution plan to achieve these targets. “We need to identify all possible funding sources, make assessment of the existing manpower and set goals for each one of them. He further suggested retrieving, compiling and documenting authentic data by using GIS/remote sensing of the settlements, their future growth and expansion and identifying suitable water sources close to the settlements. He also opined for extensive use of technology, digital means and latest available software to leverage and make the department smarter for achieving the goals apart from identifying the best and latest knowledge base in the water and sanitation and adopt the best intertiol practices in the state.

Participating in the meeting, PHE Commissioner H K Shalla called for imbibing work culture in the department. He exhorted the officers to work with a missiory zeal to fullfill the vision plan of the department, the communiqué added.