Minister for Panchayat Raj and Rural Development Errabelli Dayakar Rao has stated that treated drinking water supply under Mission Bhagiratha scheme, which is already reaching 23,968 rural habitations and 120 urban local bodies in the State, is saving ₹1,800 crore annually for people, who otherwise would have spent it on bottled water in rural areas alone.

At a meeting held here on Saturday to review the progress of Mission Bhagiratha, the Minister said that the State government had already spent about ₹29,000 crore against the project taken up with the estimated cost of ₹46,123 crore. When completed, it would provide safe and treated drinking water to about 71.61 lakh households, including 55.59 lakh in rural area and 16.2 lakh in urban areas.

Stating that the scheme had already evolved into a role model for the entire country, he said that Centre was emulating it for Jal Jeevan Mission. He thanked Mission Director of Jal Jeevan Manoj Kumar Sahu for asking other states to study the implementation of Mission Bhagiratha including the use of “flow control valve” technology for equitable distribution of water flow to all household connections in a habitation.

Mr. Dayakar Rao stated that Mission Bhagiratha project had been saving huge amounts to the government every summer during the water scarcity period. K. Chandrasekhar Rao had implemented a similar water supply project 30 years ago in Siddipet, his home constituency, and expanded it to the entire State after he became the Chief Minister, he said.

He explained that the West Bengal government had recently taken up Jal Swapna scheme on the lines of Mission Bhagiratha with ₹56,000 crore cost and Maharashtra, Bihar and Odisha were also implementing similar schemes after studying Mission Bhagiratha. In a recent study conducted by the Centre, it was revealed that 100% households would get water under Mission Bhagiratha by 2021-end.

The Centre has decided to implement the Jal Jeevan Mission and provide safe drinking water to 45 lakh households in five states – Assam, Bihar, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal – in 2020-21. However, in spite of winning several awards including the one for improving water supply efficiency by 20% and recommendation by the NITI Aayog and 15th Finance Commission, the Centre had not supported the project in any measure so far.

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