BHUBANESWAR, April 19: Odisha government today said it will provide free drinking water to urban poor households and announced earmarking Rs 300 crore for development of infrastructure for potable water.
The decision was taken at a high-level meeting presided over by Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik here at a time when people across Odisha are facing acute drinking water crisis.
"The chief minister directed that about Rs 300 crore given by 13th Finance Commission to all panchayats in the state, which is now with the district administration, will be earmarked for drinking water infrastructure development," Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) P K Mohapatra said.
Patnaik directed district collectors to utilise MGNREGS and Gopabandhu Gramin Yojana funds for creation of check dam and water harvest projects in their respective areas.
He said 30 per cent of the funds provided by the 14th Finance Commission and the 4th State Finance Commission would be utilised for the development of infrastructure for drinking water.
The Chief Minister also approved the Rural Development Department's decision to cancel leave of all rural water supply and sanitation employees, including engineers, till the end of summer.
Patnaik ordered verification of all water supply hot spots under the rural water supply department within seven days and asked the chief engineer concerned to submit a verification certificate by April 30.
He also directed the departments concerned to dig one tubewell each in all 27,711 partially covered habitations in the state at a cost of Rs 195 crore.
The SRC s office will release Rs 25 crore to augment water supply through pipes, tankers and additional vans to the urban areas, Mohapatra said.