New India should come forward to tackle water issues: PM Modi



Outlining the importance of water management, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said that ‘New India’ will have to work together to tackle water issues.

“New India should come to work together to deal with every situation of the water crisis. For this, we are working together on five levels,” he said after inaugurating the Atal Bhujal Yojana here to mark the 95th birth anniversary of former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

He also said that the Rohtang Tunnel, connecting Himachal Pradesh to Ladakh, and Jammu and Kashmir, and connecting Manali with Leh, will now be known as Atal Tunnel, in honour of the late BJP leader.

“On the one hand there is Jal Jeevan Mission, which will ensure that piped potable water will reach every household while on the other side is the Atal Jal Yojana, which will put prime focus on places where the groundwater level is low,” Modi said.

He said that during the tenure of the previous NDA government, water issues were a priority for Vajpayee.

“Whether it is the Atal Jal Yojana or the guidelines related to the Jal Jeevan Mission, these are major steps in proving the resolve to ensure that water reaches to every household in the country by 2024,” the Prime Minister said.

He said that only three crore houses have access to piped water even after the country gained independence in 1947.

“Imagine, out of 18 crore rural households, only 3 crore houses get piped water. This was achieved in 70 years. Now we have to deliver clean drinking water to 15 crore households in the next three years,” the Prime Minister said.

The Atal Bhujal Yojana scheme aims to improve groundwater management through community participation in identified priority areas in seven states — Gujarat, Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Implementation of the scheme is expected to benefit nearly 8,350-gram panchayats in 78 districts in these states.

The initiative will promote panchayat led groundwater management and behavioural change with a primary focus on demand-side management.