SRINAGAR: With an aim of taking water conservation to a grass-roots level through people’s participation across the country, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi on Monday launched the “Jal Shakti Abhiyan: Catch the Rain” Campaign on the occasion of ‘World Water Day.
Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha presided over the UT level event held at Convention Centre, Jammu to mark the occasion. He called for the active participation of elected representatives and people of J&K in rainwater harvesting and water conservation activities.
In order to augment water supply across the UT, the Lt Governor also e-inaugurated and laid e-foundations for various Water Supply Schemes, Irrigation Schemes and Projects worth Rs 117.49 crores.
Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor underscored the significance of Jal Shakti Abhiyan campaign for water conservation and administered a pledge for judicious use of water, saving water bodies and harvesting rainwater.
He extended his heartiest gratitude towards Prime for launching the Campaign on the theme ‘Catch the Rain’ – Where it Falls, When it Falls, which envisages rainwater harvesting during pre and active monsoon season through the convergence of various schemes and initiatives of various departments of the Central and State Governments.
The campaign is being launched as a Jan Andolan which intends to encourage the States/UTs and all stakeholders to ensure storage of rainwater, as rains falling in the four to five months of monsoons are the only source of water for most parts of the country, he added.
Terming Jan Bhagidari as a key component of the campaign, the Lt Governor called upon public representatives and the people of J&K to come forward, recognize their responsibilities to complement the government’s efforts, and actively participate in rainwater harvesting and other water conservation activities using new techniques as well as traditional methods to revive water bodies.
Our existence and prosperity is connected to water which is a great gift of nature. Our ancestors have done significant work in the past to harvest rainwater and store it. Now, it is the responsibility of the new generation to work for the revival of traditional methods of rainwater harvesting, the Lt Governor maintained.
There is a need to implement interventions for water conservation like mapping of water resources, preparing water conservation plans through Gram Sabhas, cleaning traditional water bodies, removing encroachments and obstructions in water channels to achieve the desired results on the ground, he added.
The Lt Governor made valuable suggestions for rainwater harvesting and water conservation. He stressed on the need to focus on five aspects – water conservation and rainwater harvesting, renovation of traditional and other water bodies, reuse of water and recharging of structures, watershed development, and intensive afforestation.
While making special mention of the extraordinary work done in J&K including rainwater harvesting through 850 water harvesting tanks in Kulgam, Jeevika project in Udhampur and water harvesting by SMVDSB, the Lt Governor called for exploring possibilities for expansion of similar progressive works in other districts as well.
He also suggested for organizing competitions on Rainwater Harvesting to acknowledge the efforts put in at Panchayat and Block level for promoting rainwater harvesting.
Emphasizing preparing an integrated plan for water-stressed areas and tackling challenges of climate change, the Lt Governor asked for establishing Rain centres for technological guidance on rainwater harvesting and Jal Samitis in every Panchayat to support rainwater harvesting initiatives.
Laying special emphasis on preserving water bodies, the Lt Governor suggested for developing a Mobile Application for monitoring of water bodies health and seeking feedback from the public so that administration and people can work together to save and revive the water bodies and wet lands, rejuvenation of small rivers, and conservation of water resources, with maximum involvement of youth.
The Lt Governor stressed on focusing rainwater collection, storage, afforestation, check dams, raising awareness on the importance of freshwater availability, conservation of water resources and ill-effects of degraded and depleting water resources.
Under Jal Jeevan Mission, we are targeting to provide piped water supply (Har Ghar Nal se Jal) to every household. Central Ground Water Board has put all the districts of J&K in the safe category. However, we need to work on mission mode to increase groundwater level, said the Lt Governor.
The Lt Governor asked the concerned departments to maintain the close synergy and undertake timely initiatives for effective execution of water conservation activities.
M Raju, Commissioner/Secretary to the Government, Jal Shakti Department gave the welcome address and briefed about the achievements of Jal Shakti Department.
Chairman DDC Jammu, Bharat Bhushan and Deputy Mayor JMC, Purnima Sharma also spoke on the occasion and highlighted the importance of conservation of our water bodies and harvesting rainwater. DDC Members, BDC Chairpersons, Sarpanchs, Panchs were also present on the occasion.
Artists raised awareness about the importance of Water and Jal Jeevan Mission through Cultural performances. A short play on water conservation was also performed by artists from the Academy of Arts.
BVR Subrahmanyam, Chief Secretary; Administrative Secretaries; Raghav Langer, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu; Anshul Garg, Deputy Commissioner, Jammu were present. District Headquarters were also connected through virtual mode during the event.
The projects costing Rs 48.54 crores e-inaugurated by the Lt Governor today include- Construction of Upper Chicka Siddimong Khul, Rajouri; Water Supply Schemes at Heaven Colony, Bandipora and Gordi Jagir, Udhampur; Filtration Plant at Takia Nagam for WSS Mir Mohalla, Bonpora, Budgam; augmentation of Basantpur Pumping Station, Kathua; Water Supply Scheme Gakhran Gunthal, Poonch and Construction of – Kenzi Khul, Budgam; Kuligam Khul District Kupwara; Khurhama Khul, Kupwara; Jinder Khul, Bandipora
The projects worth Rs 68.95 cr for which the Lt Governor laid e-foundation includes- Modernization of Grimtoo Canal, Kulgam; Flood Protection Works to Shalpathri Devibal Temple at Khanpora Baramulla; augmentation of Water Supply Scheme Samotha, Samba; Retrofitting of Water Supply Scheme Sargal, Samba; Water Supply Schemes at Barakh and Sool Patwar, Reasi; Construction of Filtration Plant under WSS Alusteng, Srinagar; providing and laying of 800 mm/700 mm DI supply main from Soura to Saidpora Srinagar; besides construction of Flood Protection works on both banks of Neeru Nallah at Bhaderwah, Doda and by way of plugging creek of Naj and Bhini river, Part-II, Kathua.