State govt revises JJM
deadline to April 2024
By Our Reporter
SHILLONG, March 21: Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma on Tuesday admitted in the Assembly that the state government could not complete the implementation of the centrally-funded Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) in the state by December 2022, but he sounded confident that the target of 100% implementation would be achieved by the end of the next financial year (March 2024).
“We were unable to meet the 2022 target but it does not mean that we have fallen short. We are the only state in the country which was given the deadline of December 2022, otherwise the target for the country is 2024,” Sangma said in his reply to the discussion on the Governor’s address.
He also disclosed that the state has to complete implementation of the remaining 54% which is a steep target. “It is a challenging task but we are working hard to move forward,” he said.
Referring to concerns and allegations about tardy implementation of the project in some areas, Sangma said, “I do agree that when we implement these programmes, everything will not be perfect and there could be some areas where the supply is short. It is not surprising considering that JJM is such a huge project. There are challenges and we need to figure out how to overcome them.”
Stating that the implementation of JJM is a stringent process, the CM said, “The Government of India will not release funds until and unless there is a third party quality assurance and quality audit. It is very strict mechanism. The third party checks the programme and implementation and only then funds are released.”
He said that almost 6.5 lakh households will be covered under JJM. “Meghalaya was one of the worst in the whole country. We had only 4,550 households with piped water connection which was below 1%. Today, we are one of the best performing states,” he said.
“We are the only state to have received the bonus for three years consecutively which means that the budget that the central government had given to us has gone up. In the first year we completed the work and went back to GOI and they again gave us Rs 300-500 crore because we did good work,” the CM said, adding that it speaks volumes about the work being done in the state.
Mukul bats for MRSSA
to deal with influx
By Our Reporter
SHILLONG, March 21: TMC senior legislator, Mukul Sangma has urged the state government to operationalise the Meghalaya Residents Safety and Security Act, 2016 (MRSSA) to effectively deal with the issue of influx and illegal immigration into the state.
Participating in the general discussion on the Governor’s address on Tuesday, Sangma said the contentious issue of influx requires a collective address and all concerns should be taken care of in the right perspective.
Sangma recalled that MRSSA was the outcome of the collective endeavour of all stakeholders and added that even the Assembly had adopted that Act.
“If this particular mandate can be effectively implemented in letter and spirit, all concerns pertaining to influx and illegal immigration can be taken care of to a great extent,” he argued.
He said the implementation of the Act would require support of all the stakeholders, and asked the government to implement the Act till the time the Centre gives its approval for implementation of ILP.
Govt to conduct safety audit of Umiam bridge
By Our Reporter
SHILLONG, March 21: The state government will conduct a fresh safety audit of the Umiam bridge to ensure that it is fit and stable for vehicular traffic.
Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma made the assurance while addressing concerns raised by TMC’s Nongthymmai legislator, Charles Pyngrope over the Umiam bridge.
“The safety audit was done in 2020 and the audit team found that the vibrations are well within the limit and there is nothing to worry about. However, the point mentioned is important and therefore we will conduct another safety audit to make sure all steps and measures will be taken to ensure that these issues and concerns are addressed,” Sangma said.
The CM agreed that Umiam bridge is the lifeline of the people and “there will be a huge problem even if there is 1% danger to the dam. We cannot take a chance and we will conduct another safety audit shortly and continue to do it in a regular basis so that people of the state and commuters feel safe”.
Earlier, Pyngrope drew the attention of the government on the prevailing condition of the bridge and highlighted the fear and concern of commuters.
“The question on everybody’s mind today is what will happen if the Umiam dam suffers a major problem. I would not say collapse but suppose it becomes unusable…” he said.
“The government of the day needs to take step to ensure that overloaded trucks are not permitted to ply over this dam because it is the lifeline of Shillong. Once we have a problem then everything else would suffer including power supply from the Umtrew and Umiam,” he said.
“There are people travelling every day and the first thing that crosses their mind when they reach Umiam is what will happen when I am crossing. This is the fear they have in their minds,” Pyngrope said, asking the government to ensure that there is no misuse or exploitation of the dam by truck operators or other elements.
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