Cut in outlay hits setting up of state water testing lab

DEHRADUN: The cut in outlay for the Centrally sponsored National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) has put the brakes on the setting up of a state referral water quality testing laboratory in Uttarakhand.

editorial@tribune.com

Neena Sharma

Tribune News Service

Dehradun, September 28

The cut in outlay for the Centrally sponsored National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP) has put the brakes on the setting up of a state referral water quality testing laboratory in Uttarakhand.

The laboratory was to be set up in the capital city by the Jal Sansthan. However, the cut in outlay by the Centre is bound to have an adverse impact on the government’s efforts to provide safe drinking water to the people of the state. This would have paved the way for preparing a water quality map for the entire state.

So far, the Jal Sansthan has managed to build 26 water quality testing laboratories in the state. The state laboratory would have further strengthened the state’s desire to put in place a water testing system that would help analyse water samples.

The NRDWP had a mechanism which ensured funds were allocated separately for the conceptualisation of new projects and their construction.

A separate budget was also provided for fulfilling handing over the upkeep of water schemes to villagers once they are complete.

For the proposed laboratory that was approved in 2014, the Centre was to provide Rs 3 crore for the building and procuring equipment under the NRDWP. However, the Centre’s disinclination to allocate adequate funds has put the Jal Sansthan authorities in a fix.

“Out of the total budget, 3 per cent was to be spent on improving water quality and 15 per cent on maintenance. Usually, while preparing the outlay for water schemes, hardly any provision is made for allocating certain percentage of the funds for maintenance. During our meeting with the Centre, this point was raised and budget was allocated for this purpose as well,” said PC Kimothi, general manager, technical and research.

“No new guidelines have been submitted by the Ministry of Water Resources shedding light on the approach to be adopted for fulfilling the projects underway. Our financial health is quite delicate, as we have received only 30 per cent of the funds so far,” said Kimothi.

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