Having access to clean drinking water 24×7 seemed like a far-fetched dream for most Indian cities.
The seeds of this idea were sown with India’s ambitious Jal Jeevan Mission which was launched on 15th August 2019 with the vision of supplying clean drinking tap water for drinking in every household by 2024. But recently, the temple town of Puri in Odisha turned this dream into a reality.
In a nutshell here’s how they succeeded.
When did it begin?
On 13th October 2020, Naveen Patnaik , the Chief Minister of Odisha introduced ‘Sujal’-Drink from Tap Mission. This plan was chalked out bearing in mind the following objectives :
- The State of Odisha has set the target to provide piped water connections to all urban areas in the State by March 2022.
- The Odisha government has set aside Rs 1300 crore for this scheme which will benefit over 15 lakh people in 15 towns in a phased manner.
- Once fully implemented Odisha will become the first state in the country to provide quality drinking water, fit for direct consumption, in urban areas.
This plan was put into action from the 26th of July, 2021.
Who plays a key role in executing this mission?
The Government aligns all its actions bearing in mind the 5T charter that guides the governance in the State. The 5T’s stand for teamwork, transparency, technology, transformation and time limit. And the Sujal- Drink from Tap Mission has also been implemented under the same initiative. This is driven by a group of women who come from various self-help groups and are called ‘Jalsaathis.’
Their role involves assisting an area/spot with getting a new connection, creating bills, handling the collections and spreading awareness about water conservation among the residents.
Whose problem is it solving and how?
The execution of this enables 2.5 lakh residents, 2 crore tourists and the 66,000 slum dwellers can bid farewell to their water woes. The Grand road leading to the Jagannath Temple has 120 drinking water tap fountains.
Are there any quality checks?
The ‘Sujal’ – Drink from Tap Mission is not restricted to simply setting up drinking water fountains; it even involves quality checks. The water provided in these taps abides by the IS 10500 specifications that are listed out by the Bureau of Indian Standards.
That’s not all. For the Puri Drinking Water program, as an additional measure the State Government has adopted the (PPP) model and set up laboratories for monitoring the water quality and to keep a close watch on big cities. Mobile van laboratories patrol the area wherein customer complaints are registered with the aid of a tracking system that makes use of geographical information system (GIS) to make sure that real-time field data is recorded.
For any concern whatsoever, there is a customer care system in place wherein grievances can be registered. This unit has a mobile crew, vehicles and equipment to deal with any emergency or leakage that needs addressing.
To reinstate the public trust on this new found system of drinking water there are LED boards in public places displaying ‘real-time online water quality data.’
Taking a leaf from developed nations like Japan, USA, England and USA, Odisha is the first Indian state to provide its residents with drink-from-tap-quality water. While the Government of Odisha could implement a model and succeed in ensuring clean tap drinking tap water for the residents of Puri, even other Indian states and cities can follow their lead and achieve the same. While Indian states like Odisha has proved how a focused, co-ordinated initiative like the Puri Drinking Water program can achieve its prime goal to concerted effort in water potability for all, India’s central governance has charted out a much more ambitious plan, appropriately titled Jal Jeevan Mission for the entire country.
The Jal Jeevan mission aims to bring potable drinking water (tap water) to every Indian household by 2024. Along with that even water sustainability will be addressed with recycling and reusing water through rainwater harvesting, greywater management and water conservation. The success in Puri is a beacon in inspiring and encouraging both state and the nation’s objectives closer to its stated goal – on providing tap water for all across the largest subcontinent of the planet, a reality.