CM launches ‘BESTOW 1.0’ campaign for empowerment of village communities under JJM

Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu virtually launched ‘BESTOW 1.0’ – the month-long campaign for empowerment of village communities under the ‘Jal Jeevan Mission’ (JJM) that aims to provide safe and adequate drinking water on regular basis through functional household tap connections (FHTC), here on Monday, August 23 last. To mark the launch, Khandu bestowed an in-village component of water supply assets to the Village Water and Sanitation Committee (VWSC) of Ganga village in Papum Pare district. Simultaneously, at the district levels, the District Water and Sanitation Mission (DWSM) chairpersons bestowed the in-village components of water supply scheme to VWSCs in their respective districts. JJM, a centrally sponsored scheme, envisions providing safe and adequate drinking water through individual household tap connections to all households in rural India by 2024. However, the Arunachal Pradesh Government has taken upon itself to achieve the target by 2023, a year ahead of the national target. The programme will include source sustainability measures as mandatory elements, such as recharge and reuse through grey water management, water conservation, rain water harvesting. The Mission will be based on a community approach to water and will include extensive information, education and communication as key components. The state Public Health Engineering and Water Supply (PHED/ WS) is the implementing agency here and as per its records, as of date, 2101 villages have been equipped with 100% FHTC. Complimenting the department and congratulating the villages with successful handing over of the assets, Khandu underscored the role of VWSC, a constituent of the Gram Panchayat, in successful completion of the mission as well as its sustainability. “The role of village committees is critical in planning, implementation, management, operation and maintenance of water supply in the village and in ensuring functional tap connection to each household,” he pointed, while interacting with the VWSCs and DWSMs connected virtually from the districts.

“Har ghar me nalaur har nal me jal and now it is up to you (VWSCs) to keep the water flowing,” he said. Khandu informed that to support JJM and make it successful in the state, the state government has started the Arunachal Jal Sankalp scheme to add to the fund allocated by the central government. He expressed concern over reported water scarcity in few pockets of the state like Longding and said degradation of forest cover and reducing rainfall as the main factors. He emphasized on protection and preservation of all the water sources being utilized in implementation of the scheme by the village committees. Khandu further emphasized on having in place a robust catchment area policy to protect water sources and informed the government is working on it. The month-long campaign will cover formation of VWSCs in left out villages, opening bank accounts of VWSCs, adoption of resolution by communities for water tariff collection, training of at least five women in a village on handling Field Testing Kits, resolution on catchment areas, training on plumbing, masonry and electric motor/pump and handing over of invillage water supply components. The BESTOW campaign aims at maximizing the process of handing over of in-village water supply components, one of the end products of JJM. The campaign aims to achieve certain milestones on weekly basis to make water supply assets eligible for handing over to village communities. The program was also attended by PHED/WS Minister WangkiLowang, the chief secretary, officials of PHED/WS, deputy commissioners and members of VWSCs.