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| Last Updated:21/05/2014

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Odisha spent less than 39% funds for drinking water programme

The Hindu, 03 May 2014


Cyclone Phailin destroyed many wells and pipelines in the State


BHUBANESWAR: The State government has failed to spend the funds earmarked to mitigate drinking water problems in the State in the event of natural calamities.


This fact came to the light when the Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation recently drew its annual action plan for Odisha under National Rural Drinking Water Programme (NRDWP).


In a year (2013-14) in which Odisha faced a severe cyclonic storm and multiple major floods, the State government spent less than 39 per cent of the funds it had under ‘natural calamity’ head of NRDWP. “The NRDWP is the flagship programme for rural drinking water supply.


The NRDWP earmarks five per cent of the total fund under natural calamity head. As per NRDWP guideline this fund is used to mitigate drinking water problems in the rural areas in the wake of natural calamities,” Bimal Prasad Pandia, senior manager of city-based voluntary organization RCDC said.


However, till March 12, 2014 – with only 18 days left in that financial year – the State government had spent only Rs. 148.91 crore of available Rs. 384.68 crore. What is ironic is that the Naveen Patnaik government had recently carried out a campaign against the UPA government for not making required funds available to it when Phailin hit the State.


According to proceeding of the meeting, the Union Ministry had termed the expenditure under ‘calamity’ as very poor and opined that the pace of spending needed to be expedited.


“While such gross under utilisation of available fund by the Odisha government belies all logic, the demand for fund presented by State government in Phailin memorandum sounds quite baffling,” said Mr. Pandia.


He pointed out that the memorandum mentioned that 3,040 rural pipe water supply systems and 162,170 tube-wells had been damaged or submerged in rural areas due to cyclone and flood. “Through the memorandum, the State government had placed a demand of Rs 27.60 crore for immediate repair.


The irony, Mr. Pandia said, is that in the same paragraph of the memorandum, the government had stated that only Rs. 68 lakh was available in the related scheme for the above purpose.


One statistic showed that the Odisha government had a lot of money under NRDWP’s ‘natural calamity’ head which it failed to utilise while other showed that the State had barely any money to restore damaged rural water supply provisions after the cyclone and flood, he said.


The Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation further pointed out that there were 155 piped water schemes which were pending for more than 5 to 10 years for completion and also another 373 schemes which were pending for more than three to five years.


The State government was warned to utilise available funds for completing schemes, or face non-allocation of funds under Multipurpose Drinking Water Scheme.


Government spent only Rs. 148.91 crore of the available Rs. 384.68 crore

Union Ministry instructed State to utilise available funds for completing schemes