Tripura govt submits Rs 665 crore proposal for water supply project

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Agartala, May 21 (UNI) With the growing threat of water scarcity in the state capital and suburbs, the Tripura government has sent a proposal of Rs 665 crore for a project to transport water from the Gumati river, about 70 kms away, through pipelines to ensure water supply to an additional 1.5 lakh families in the city.

Official sources said here today that a high level committee, headed by Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, approved the project earlier this week and sent it to the Union Urban Development Ministry for funding under the Jawaharlal Neheru National Urban Renewal Mission (JNNURM).

Officials said the city had been facing serious crisis of potable water during summer and pre-monsoon days as the lone source, the Howrah river, dried up while the groundwater was also not sufficient for the increasing number of city dwellers, which prompted the state government to consider transporting water from far away.

According to the proposal, the project would be implemented within the next six years.

Meanwhile, environment experts lashed out at the state government for its alleged non-compliance of the Rain Water Harvesting strategy in the state even though Tripura had been blessed with about 80 per cent more rainfall during the past three years.

Referring to the statistics of rainfall in NE states, environment experts Dr Arjun Kumar De said Tripura had received (+) 187 per cent, Mizoram (+) 164 per cent, Nagaland (+) 95 per cent, Manipur (+) 50 per cent, Assam (+) 41 per cent and Meghalaya (+) one per cent rainfall than normal during the pre-monsoon season in 2007.

''Mizoram has emerged as the best rooftop rainwater harvesting state in the NE due to highly rocky terrain but unfortunately Tripura has not yet come out with the concept of saving water from rain despite repeated pleas,'' Dr De said.

He maintained that the encroachment of water bodies and formation of silt in rivers had created havoc in the state, as the monsoon water flowed down to the rivers and inundated the low-lying areas and at the same time the state was facing serious water crisis.

Earlier, the Union Rural Development Ministry had called for promoting Rooftop Water Harvesting (RWH) in rural and water deficient areas of the NE, including Tripura, and suggested taking initiatives to motivate school students in this regard.

The Ministry proposed to introduce and promote individual RWH structures in all rural households and provide all necessary technical and financial support.

It had further instructed to ensure that not less than two to three ponds and surface water collection systems were developed in each habitation under the NREGA programme and rejuvenation of existing ponds and lakes or construction of new ones could be taken up.

The Ministry also stressed on the need to integrate water conservation and structures augmenting drinking water supply under NREGA in each and every habitation.

The Centre had also supplied hydro-geological maps to the states for facilitating construction of recharge structures to provide all habitations with safe drinking water by 2009 under the Bharat Nirman Programme by successfully addressing the challenge of ''slipped back habitations'' and ensuring that the phenomena did not recur again.

All the projects required serious changes in strategies adopted but nothing was done so far in the state, Dr De alleged.

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