The Rs 1,940-Sector Reforms project on drinking water is not progressing up to the mark and hence a thorough review would be undertaken, the Union Minister for Rural Development, Mr M. Venkaiah Naidu, said here on Tuesday.
The project under way in 64 identified districts in 26 States of the country on a pilot scale has run into delays and minor problems, he told newspersons. The Ministry has called the coordinators of the project from all the 64 districts and the external agencies such as the UNICEF, DFID of the UK and the experts from the World Bank on June 28 at New Delhi, Mr Venkaiah Naidu said.
Earlier, releasing “Groundwater Prospecting Maps of six States” at the National Remote Sensing Agency (NRSA), he said, “We have to involve Panchayati Raj, local bodies and self help group’s and the community to judiciously use the water resources available”.
He assured that the maps based on a combination of satellite and ground truths would be brought out of all the States in a phased manner. The country needs a whopping Rs 40,000 crore to provide comprehensive, safe drinking water to all.
The Secretary, Department of Space, Dr K. Kasturirangan in his presentation said during the Tenth Plan an ambitious programme has been formulated to build sophisticated satellites which will give more accurate information of the earth’s resources.
The country has already emerged as a model for utilisation of data for development from satellites. Applications in the areas of wasteland development, watershed management, agriculture, information systems for resource utilisation are high priority initiatives, he said.
The Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr Digvijay Singh, in his remarks said, “satellite images are good where large water sources could exist, our problem is of plateaus and hills where narrow aquifers have to be identified. He suggested more precise maps than the 1:50,000 prepared for the six States”.
The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Mr N. Chandrababu Naidu in his remarks said Rs 4,500 crore was needed to cover all the villages with drinking water. “The technology is good, but we need more funds from the Rural Development Ministry to implement the projects,” he told Mr Venkaiah Naidu.
The Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, Mr A.K. Goswami said all the six States of Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Kerala and Rajasthan have been asked to select sites using the satellite technology and validate the technology.