Need public participation to provide safe drinking water: Uma Bharti

NEW DELHI, June 14:
Apart from administrative and Government initiatives, public participation is required to provide safe drinking water to every household, Drinking Water and Sanitation Minister Uma Bharti said today.
Bharti, who was addressing a gathering of state drinking water and sanitation ministers and secretaries on ‘National Consultation on NRDWP (National Rural Drinking Water Programme) and Swajal-reform and way forward’, said every kind of development is possible with public participation.
“Any kind of development can happen if there is public participation. We got our independence only when there was a ‘Jan Aandolan’ or mass movement. For safe drinking water too, only administrative or government initiative is not enough. It can be achieved only when there is public participation,” Bharti said. Emphasising on the concept of Swajal programme, a community based water supply, the minister said the interim target for scaling up the model was in identified 115 ‘aspirational districts’ as the piped water supply in these districts was only about 25 per cent compared to the national average.
She said the common people at gram panchayat should be trained and educated by the rural drinking water supply or public health engineering department of the states for preparation of detail project plans and sustainability of the scheme, she said.
She urged the state ministers to actively take up the matter with their counterparts in Panchayati Raj/Rural Develop-ment Department, since the whole idea of Swajal would only take up if there was active participation from gram panchayat in terms of contribution through participatory approach and usage of 14th Finance Commission devolved funds.
Bharti also asked the states to concentrate on rainwater harvesting. (PTI)