News Brief

Congress Slams Left In Kerala Assembly Over Lapses In Implementing Central Govt's Jal Jeevan Mission

Swarajya Staff

Jul 08, 2024, 05:14 PM | Updated 05:14 PM IST

The Congress led UDF took on the LDF over the implementation of the Jal Jeevan Mission
The Congress led UDF took on the LDF over the implementation of the Jal Jeevan Mission

The Congress-led United Democratic Front (UDF) opposition criticized the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government on July 8 for the poor progress of the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) aimed at providing rural households with tap water connections. 

Accusations of poor planning and mismanagement were leveled against the ruling party. The UDF members walked out of the State Legislative Assembly after their motion to discuss JJM lapses was declined.

They criticized the government for not claiming the Central share on time and neglecting the restoration of rural roads dug up for pipe-laying. 

Anoop Jacob of the UDF, who proposed the adjournment motion, stated that the Centrally-assisted project had stalled due to the State government's negligence, inefficiency, and poor financial management.

Jacob pointed out that while the State government reported 19.5 lakh new connections under JJM, these were from existing water supply projects, leading to disruptions in current water supply. He alleged that six lakh new connections had no water supply.

Leader of the Opposition V.D. Satheesan noted that the JJM's five-year term ended in March 2024, with only Rs 9,410 crore spent out of the estimated Rs 44,715 crore. Contractors' dues have reached Rs 3,281 crore, and while the Centre has allocated Rs 1,949 crore for 2024-25, the State's budget only included Rs 550 crore for JJM. Satheesan highlighted that an additional Rs 30,000 crore is needed to complete the project, with half coming from the State.

Satheesan further criticized the lack of a proper survey or estimation before starting the project, leading to 33 supply works remaining non-functional and existing supply disruptions. The UDF also condemned the government's failure to restore roads dug up during the project.

In response, Water Resources Minister Roshy Augustine denied allegations of negligence allowing central funds to lapse and said that the State had released matching grants on time. 

He reported that 54.5% of the JJM work had been completed, with households in 92 panchayats being declared as fully covered and 100 more expected by December. Augustine mentioned that out of 1.04 lakh km of roads dug up, 55,000 km had been restored, along with 1,450 km of the 3,200 km under the Public Works Department.

Augustine urged the opposition to adopt a positive perspective and cooperate in addressing issues related to contractors' dues and road restoration, expressing confidence in the successful implementation of JJM in Kerala.

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