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Kerala, building up its jalanidhi
Schemes or scams?

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Catch Water
Vol. 5                                      No. 2                          April-May 2003

Water News

Kerala, building up its jalanidhi

Save the rain group in Texas
Inspired by CSE's water campaign, Jen and Paul Radlet formed a 'Save the rain' group in Texas, US, to popularise rainwater harvesting.

The group provides free technical guidance while generating awareness on RWH. In March, they organised 'do it yourself' workshops to provide prototype training. "We have one interested family but they can't afford the RWH system. So, we told them that installation would be free, if they allowed us to use it as a training workshop for the neighbourhood. They not only agreed but also offered to spread it among their friends", says Radelts. A wonderful beginning, indeed.

For details:
Jen and paul Radlet
E mail: saverain@gvtc.com

Graveyard of tanks
Recently, a PIL has been filed in the high court for the protection of ‘Baital talav’, an old tank in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh, from encroachment by land mafia. Built by the erstwhile Gond rulers, the city once boasted of more than 52 tanks — now it has just seven of these remaining.

ISO accreditation for Mira Model
For being the best environmentally managed school, Mira Model has recently received the ISOcertification (9001-2000). The school has made environment, a way of their life. Mira Model is also one of CSE’s five model projects.
(Contributed by Astha Rawat, a student from Mira Model School)

Awareness drive
The Union Ministry of Environment and Forests, has launched the ‘National Environmental Awareness Campaign, 2002-2003’. With stress water conservation as the key theme - workshops, exhibitions and street plays are being organised in association with local NGOs, all over India.

The Kerala Rural Water Supply and Sanitation Project (popularly known as Jalanidhi) has equipped people (women, in particular) to solve their persisting drinking water problems, themselves.

This World Bank aided project aims at improving the quality of rural water supply and environmental sanitation services in the state. The Rs 450 crore project has a loan component of Rs 300 crores. The credit is interest free with a 35 year maturity period. The project has introduced a new institutional arrangement keeping in mind the state government’s policy to decentralise rural water supply service delivery from a state sector to the gram panchayats. The four key actors are: Kerala Rural Water Supply Agency, an autonomous registered society at the state level, gram panchayat, beneficiary groups (BGs) and NGOs. The community-based BGs are independently handling the entire project outlays. Each beneficiary contributes 15 per cent of the project cost in either cash or kind. In many places, the construction work is being done by trained women from the BGs. As a result, their daily earnings have gone up from
Rs 50 to Rs 80 -100, boosting their confidence levels and social status.

After four years Jalanidhi has reached 80 per cent of the households in 90 per cent of the panchayats of Palakkad, Mallapuram, Thrissur and Kozhikode districts. This demand driven mission is gaining strength, everyday.

Schemes or scams?

Due to bad monsoon and mismanagement of water resources, the situation is grim in India. Chew this. As per the latest statistics, about 15,000 villages in India are without any source of potable water. Another 2,00,000 villages are partially covered with different drinking water schemes. And, in 2,17,000 villages the quality of water is not potable. In other words, the situation has not changed much since 1950.

The arrival of summers is celebrated by the state governments with a basket of populist schemes that lack vision and a proper action plan. As a result, these schemes come and go, without making any impact. Let us take a stock. In the last two months, the following schemes announced:

Rajasthan: In February 2003, a district-wise master plan for rainwater harvesting was formulated. "It covers each hectare of the district and every drop of rainwater", said the deputy chief minister of Rajasthan. In March 2003, Jal Tarang, a national program sponsored by the union ministry for Human Resources was first initiated in the state of Rajasthan for the sustainable management of water resources by empowering people. Later, it will be launched in MP and W Bengal, as well. It will create awareness, develop action plans and evolve networking.

Andhra Pradesh: Last month, the state decided to execute about 105 ‘protected water schemes’ in 940 flouride affected villages at the cost of Rs 472 crores. And, in the second phase to be completed by 2007, another Rs 2,756 would be spent. Soon after, the state came up with an action plan to develop 1,168 irrigation sources at a cost of Rs 10,000 crores. Recently, Jal Chaitanyam, a sustained campaign to conserve water was launched. It aims at creating village level teams.

Madhya Pradesh: In March 2003, a week long water conservation campaign to spread awareness among urban population was initiated. All the 336 administrative buildings have been directed to install rainwater harvesting systems. The state is also providing Rs 25,000 to municipalities, Rs 15,000 to nagar palikas and Rs 10,000 to nagar panchayats.

Karnataka: In a bid to try out rainwater harvesting in the farm fields, the state government announced a new scheme, Jalarakshana. While two-third of the project cost would be sponsored by the state in terms of foodgrains under food for work program and the rest would be beard by the beneficiary.

Kerala: To achieve the ambitious ‘Water for All’ target by 2007, the state government has formulated two drinking water schemes viz, Varsha and Jalavahini.

Are these schemes or scams? What do you think? Share your views with us at
E-mail:water@cseindia.org


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