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HindustanTimes Tue,23 Sep 2014

Safe drinking water still a distant dream across J&K

Ashiq Hussain, Hindustan Times  Srinagar, January 30, 2013
First Published: 20:59 IST(30/1/2013) | Last Updated: 21:01 IST(30/1/2013)

Nearly half of the schools and 30% of villages in Jammu and Kashmir, known for glaciers, fresh water lakes and streams, are being fed with unsafe drinking water, a study has revealed.

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The assessment study conducted by National Level Monitoring agency, coming under rural development ministry, has also found that almost two-third of the villagers have not been receiving sufficient quantity of portable water in their homes.

The damning facts have come to fore after the monitoring agency travelled 12 districts of the state to study 120 villages, including those falling in the capital city of Srinagar. Around 390 schools and 376 aganwadi centres in the districts were also assessed.

The assessing officers of NLM, while commenting on National Rural Drinking Water Programme, stated that only one-fifth (21%) of villagers were getting good quality drinking water.

A majority (60%) were not having sufficient supply, revealed the study informing that all the villages in Budgam, Kupwara and Rajouri were having insufficient supply.

"Water treatment facilities exist in only 5% villages visited by NLM," the report of the study stated.

The report has questioned the logic of implementing agencies to rely on untreated water from rivers and lakes for drinking. "The scheme aims to achieve universal access of rural population to safe and sustainable drinking water facilities rather than a mere coverage of habitations," it reads.

The study team also visited some 374 aganwadi centres in the 12 districts, of which only one-forth (25%) had access to safe drinking water.

Initiated in 2009, the National Rural Drinking Water Programme was a revised version of Accelerated Rural Water Supply Programme (ARWSP) of 1972-73, to support states and UTs with financial and technical assistance in implementing drinking water supply schemes.

The state of Jammu and Kashmir is spread on an area of around 1,01,500 sq km of which around 3,533 sq km are water bodies and wetlands.


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