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Now, state Public Health Engineering dept to look after 'operation & maintenance' of 587 piped water supply schemes

Now, state Public Health Engineering dept to look after operation & maintenance of 587 piped water supply schemes

Kolkata: In order to ensure better supply of drinking water in rural areas, the state Public Health Engineering (PHE) department is taking over the charge of "operation and maintenance" of 587 piped water supply schemes from authorities of different Gram Panchayats (GPs).

The move has been taken following a detailed discussion between the PHE and the state Panchayat department.

According to a memorandum issued by the state PHE department on November 9, "The 15 th commission grants to Rural Local Bodies (RLBs) can be utilised for provision of drinking water and sanitation services, PHE department may also act as a service provider to be engaged by the Gram Panchayat…A suitable agrrement for this purpose will be framed in due course."

The operation and maintenance of the rural piper water supply schemes were handed over to the Gram Panchayats in pursuance to an order issued by the Panchayat and Rural Development department on 18 February in 2016. Now, the state PHE department is taking back the responsibility following a review to the same.

This comes when the state PHE department is implementing the project of ensure tap water connection to every household in the state under Jal Swapna prakalpa.

The state PHE department would also carry out necessary "renovation, repairing and augmentation of schemes using its own resources and no no financial assistance will be extended to the GPs for this purpose once the schemes are handed over".

However, the GPs will continue to assist in overall monitoring and surveillance in respect of prevention of wastage and leakage of drinking water, prevention of unauthorised tapping of pipelines and monitoring of water quality. GPs shall also act as a grievance cell to help people in the locality to lodge complaint related to supply of safe drinking water. The GPs would immediately pass the information to the concerned officer of the PHE department, said a state government officer.

There will also be a committee at the state level comprising members of both the departments to monitor the roles and responsibilities of different stakeholders and will resolve if any issues crop up.

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