India

Loans & funds meant for piped water supply embezzled

Golden yug
[ March 22, 2018 ] PHE flushed into drains CSS funds on the promise of supplying water World Water Day is an international observance and an opportunity to learn more about water related issues, be inspired to tell others and take action to make a difference. World Water Day dates back to the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development where an international observance for water was recommended. The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating March 22, 1993 as the first World Water Day. It has been held annually since then. India has more people in rural areas–63.4 million–living without access to clean water than any other country. That is more than the combined population of Punjab, Haryana and Uttarakhand. Compared globally, that is as many people as live in Australia, Sweden, Sri Lanka and Bulgaria–combined. In India With 27 out of 35 states and union territories disaster-prone, the poorest and the most marginalized will bear the brunt of extreme weather events and climate change and will find it the hardest to adapt. With 67% of India’s population living in rural areas and 7% of the rural population living without access to clean water, India’s rural poor are highly vulnerable to the effects of extreme weather events and climate change. Only 26.9 million out of 167.8 million households (16%) in rural India have piped water. Whereas the government plans to provide 50% of all rural households with piped water and 35% of rural households with household taps by the end of 2017, according to the strategic plan for rural drinking water, 2011-2022. The goal is to provide 90% rural households with piped water and 80% of rural households with household taps by 2022. Water availability per capita has been declining in India due to the increase in population and the other factor lesser known is misappropriation of funds meant for the purpose. Unfortunately facts related to non-availability of piped drinking water has been not adequately addressed by public health engineering (PHE) department of J&K Govt. PHE incompetency can be gauged from the fact when in winter said department is unable to provide daily drinking water in Jammu city and in its outskirts residents are supplied drinking water twice a week what will be the fate of unsuspected residents of Jammu and its surrounding areas when in coming months Mercury will touch 42 degree Celsius. No denying the fact state Govt under various heads got funds and loans in the preceding years with only condition to augment existing drinking water network and in case of loans most important condition was to be used for the purpose released following international standards as laid down by lender bank. The funds received in Jammu region in hundred crores during last five years received under the heads CCS and loans from ADB were intentionally misused by those, otherwise who were supposed to ensure their utilization with all honesty as well as upholding of national and international standard. It’s disheartening to find numerous schemes primarily meant for providing drinking water to residents of Jammu city started decades back have not yet borne any fruit, but state Govt officials have dared to submit completion certificates to the agencies from whom loans and funds were received. It is amazing to note on one hand ERA is claiming they completed laying of new water pipe lines in the areas like Sainik Colony and Channi Himmat by spending Rs 357612458 crores and in Jammu city Rs 729841391 crores and at the same time PHE is also claiming in the same areas during the same period they too have spent crores of rupees. Key officials who dare to submit false completion certificates on merit deserves to be grilled to reply on whose instructions said funds was misappropriated. The irony of things is despite spending hundreds of crores of rupees by ERA and PHE City Division-1, PHE City Division-II and PHE Rural Division, people of Jammu city, Channi Rama Lakkad Mandi Choudhi, Sainik Farm, Channi Kamala, Police Lines, Bhagat Pura (Thanger) and Janipur are getting drinking water on alternative days and its outskirts sometimes after three days and sometimes after four days just for 45 minutes PHE Jammu city Division-2 as per reliable sources in the year 2015-16, 2016-17 and during current financial year has got funds under LIC 594.645 lacs, 148.65 and 174.10 lacs respectively, out of this allotted amount PHE Division-2 of Jammu city claims to have spent 512.043, 132.43 lacs and 100.57 lacs till Dec 2017 . The same Division under National Rural Drinking Water Project (NRDWP) received sum of rupees 104.349 lacs, 212.477 lacs and 245.51 lacs and Rs 104.30 lacs, 166.812 lacs and 245.51 lacs was spent. Pertinent to mention here said amount was released to be used for said purpose emphasizing need of providing piped drinking water to rural areas. Munshi Ram of Choudhi adjoining Sainik Colony Jammu regarding availability of drinking water supply in his area having over hundred households said after three to four days we are provided piped drinking water now days, during summer last year we were getting once a week. Monu a shopkeeper of the area too said the same thing and added sometime they are getting contaminated water. Surprisingly PHE Jammu Division-II Shastri Nagar Jammu claims has spent Rs 91.94 lacs during current financial year and in the year 2016-17, Rs 100.000 crores and in the year 2015-16 Rs 75 lacs under the head Urban Town but fate of residents of urban towns is yet to be changed. Said Division in the year 2017-18 in the name of procurement of materials and supply and Maintenance & repair has spent Rs 17,93,841 and Rs 48,63,324 respectively. Moreover during the current year employees of said Division without doing any work in the name of salary so far have drawn more than rupees eleven crores. PHE and ERA crores of rupees spending on papers is a cause of concern for those advocating transparency and in such circumstances, Govt of the time is duty bound to order a probe to find out what prompted PHE & ERA key officials to misappropriate funds, loans received for providing piped drinking water.