Providing potable water to the people has always been one of the major poll planks of all the major political parties in Himachal Pradesh; but, a study conducted by the National Sample Survey Organisation (NSSO) does not paint a rosy picture of availability of drinking water in the hills, especially in rural areas.
According to the report, out of 1,000 households in rural areas, 232 are bereft of water, while in urban areas the situation was far-off better - out of 1,000 households, 41 are not getting sufficient potable water round the year.
On the contrary, irrigation and public health department superintending engineer Naveen Puri said almost entire habitations were covered by piped-drinking water. Reacting to the report, he said the state had covered a total 56,000 habitations with the prescribed capacity per day.
“Earlier, the union government had set 40 litre per capita per day, but later it was revised to 55 litre per capita per day. This also brought some habitations under the water deficient indicator,” he added.
Under the revised guidelines, nearly 14,000 out of the total 56,000 habitations were deprived of the sufficient potable water round the year. Puri said the government was now planning to provide 70 per capita per day in the state.
According to the NSSO, 958 out of per 1,000 households had approach to potable drinking water in rural Himachal, while there was 100% availability of potable drinking water in urban Himachal Pradesh.
Himachal Pradesh is among the three states which have access to 100% potable water in urban areas along with Chandigarh and Andaman and Nikobar Island. While it stood seventh in providing potable water in rural areas.
The data was collected between July and December 2012 during the 69th round of survey by the NSSO, which is managed by the union ministry of statistics.
The report was released a week ago.
Among rural households, 85.8% have sufficient drinking water, while in urban India the corresponding figure was 89.6%, says the report.
According to the NSSO, Nagaland stood at the bottom of the list in both urban and rural areas when it comes to providing sufficient drinking water round the year. Lakshadweep and Pondicherry covered 100% of its rural population with sufficient drinking water throughout the year.
Despite winning Nirmal Gram Awards, 257 out of per 1,000 households are without toilets in rural Himachal Pradesh. The state stood at sixth position after Kerala, Assam, Uttrakhand, Punjab and Haryana.