Shimla, Feb 23 (UNI) The Himachal Pradesh Assembly today expressed concern over the worsening drought conditions in various parts of the state and called upon the state government to take immediate and long-term measures to tackle the situation.
Members cutting across party lines urged the state government to prepare a master plan to ensure adequate water supply for human beings, cattle and fields and submit the same to the central government for funds.
The members were participating in the discussion on a private members resolution moved by Mohinder Singh (BJP) that focused on the grim situation created by near failure of rains and snow in winter.
Participating in the debate, Irrigation and Public Health (IPH) Minister Kual Singh Thakur gave lengthy details of the steps being taken by the government to find immediate and long term solutions to the problem.
Intervening in the debate, Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh said his government was aware of the situation and is fully geared to meet the situation.
The government was concerned about the situation and aware of the fact that it could worsen if there was no rain or snow in the near future.
Replying to the discussion, Mr Thakur said that drinking water schemes costing Rs 1,750 crore and irrigation schemes costing Rs 688.45 crore had already been submitted to the Centre under the Bharat Nirman Yojana and all these schemes were expected to be completed by March 2009.
It was a colossal amount as compared to the total money spent on drinking water schemes and irrigation schemes in the state till date, which was Rs 1,950 crore and Rs 950 crore respectively, he said.
The IPH minister said that an ambitious plan was under implementation in the state to cover all the left out and partially covered habitations under water supply schemes and provide irrigation facilities to 90,000 hectare additional area.
Against a national average of 40 litre of water per person per day, the Himachal Government had set a target of providing 70 litres of water per person per day in rural areas and 120 litres per person per day in the urban areas, he said.
Mr Thakur informed that at present there were 4,912 partially covered habitations of which 1,936 were being covered during the current financial year, while the remaining habitation would have potable water by March 2008.
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