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J&K’s water watch-dog raps PHE, I&FC for laxity

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No forward movement on implementing J&K Water Resources Act; CCDU should stop wasting resources by working in bits and pieces

Srinagar, Feb 22: Rapping them for the slackness in the implementation J&K Water Resources (Regulation and Management) Act, JKSWRRA has urged the Chief Engineers of PHE and I&FC to work in close coordination with other departments.

The concerned agencies also attracted rebuke for non-submission of quarterly progress reports with regularity.

Jammu and Kashmir State Water Resources Regulatory Authority (JKSWRRA) under the chairmanship of Pramod Jain undertook here a comprehensive review of implementation of various provisions of J&K Water Resources (Regulation and Management) Act, an official press release informed today.

Jain was accompanied by Kaneez Fatima, Ravi Magotra, MuzzafarLankar and other members of JKSWRRA.

The authority observed that there was slackness on the part of utilities in the implementation of provisions of JKSWRRA Act and called upon the Chief Engineers of PHE and I&FC to work in close association with other departments like Agriculture, Command Area, Geology and Mining, Health, Education, Sports, Ecology and Environment, Agriculture Universities in this regard.

They observed that Divisional Commissioners and Deputy Commissioners can facilitate in providing the desired coordination platform.

The authority reiterated its concern over non-submission of Quarterly Progress Reports by the utilities with regularity. It observed that QPRs are to be submitted in a consolidated manner to JKSWRRA as per the devised proforma, by the Chief Engineers of PHE and I&FC departments and Superintending Engineers of Hydraulic Circle, Leh and Kargil.

Jain made it clear once again that the authority will not entertain these QPRs if submitted directly by the Executive Engineers.

JKSWRRA also felt that the Communication and Capacity Development Unit (CCDU) of PHE department will have to redouble its effort in imparting training and communication skills to different layers of functionaries of utilities at all levels and also carry out campaign on water issues for public awareness in a much bigger way by aggressively using the medium of radio channels which have a far wider reach to the general public, more particularly in the rural areas. TV talks with experts and responses in between to callers issues online should also be slotted for generating water awareness.

Chairperson while reviewing working of CCDU in detail called for a better design and well-planned approach rather than doing things in bits and pieces which can create hardly any impact.

CCDU should work out a well-thought of calendar of events in the beginning of the year and plan their activities to accomplish the mandated role accordingly, he suggested.

The Authority felt that besides NGOs, the Village Water Sanitation Committees headed by Junior Engineers can play an added role in this direction and as such their revival and purposeful engagement would need to be fast-tracked.

They called for engaging children, mothers, students, teachers, women-folk, Ashas, Anganwardi workers, research scholars and other experts in the field in a meaningful manner to make ‘World Water Day’, ‘World Water Week’ a resounding success.

CCDU was instructed to rejig their ‘world water day’ celebration plans and programmes with focus on this year’s declared theme ‘Nature for Water’.

Impact assessment studies should also be done for a continued improvement in the CCDU activities and plans.

The authority also visited site of ongoing restoration works of Jhelum embankment at Lasjan that caved in a month back and expressed satisfaction over the pace and content of the work being executed.

The authority advised that there was need for identifying other vulnerable patches and take timely preventive action.

Winding up its 2-day visit to valley, the authority went around filtration plants and test labs at Tangnar, Nishat and Rangil filtration plants.

The authority also visited sites in Ganderbal district to take stock of the extent of damage where illegal mining of riverbed material in Sindh Nallah was going on and issued instructions to Chief Engineer I&FC, Kashmir and Executive Engineer, FC division Ganderbal to take strict action under section 81, 87 of the act and provision of Rule 42 of the J&K Water and Resources (Regulation & Management) rules, 2011 and ensure that further damage of the Nallah bed is stopped forthwith.

Authority also implored heads of utilities -- Chief Engineers of PHE and I&FC -- to devote sufficient time for management and water governance aspects and not remain mostly engaged with the execution aspects of projects and schemes.

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