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Chibinang locals complain of ‘incomplete’ JJM projects

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From Our Correspondent

TURA, June 14: Residents of Bholarbitha and its adjoining villages in Chibinang under West Garo Hills have called for an immediate set-up and functioning of their Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTCs) under Jal Jeevan Mission.
The appeal comes after several villages, viz. Bangalkhata, Bholarbhita, Ghuner Gaon, Borshibanda, Lower Nalbari, Charbataprara, among others, were yet to see every household connected through FHTCs.
In a letter addressed to the media, the residents stated that the JJM, instead of making their lives better, have made matters worse.
“Many villages are yet to be connected through FHTC in our area. Our area is flood-prone, which means that safe drinking water is absolutely essential for our survival during times of crisis. This has left most of us frustrated at the scheme. We urge the department concerned (PHE) to kindly look into the matter and ensure tap water is available to us,” stated local resident and social activist, Ishraful Hoque.
The various projects in Chibinang have been constructed with huge sums of money, from both the Centre and the state, though the benefit for such money usage is still to be seen in many of these projects.
“Even our tube wells have dried up due to the heatwave that we saw. There is a severe water crisis in the area and all we can ask is that the schemes be made workable for the benefit of the region. It was seen during recent floods that many of us suffered from diarrheoa and skin diseases due to usage of contaminated water,” he added.
The activist further stated that in many villages, FHTCs were not set up due to negligence while the main feeder pipeline has been laid by the riverside and was sure to be affected due to floods or could be washed away.
Hoque urged the government as well as the PHE to keep a close eye on what is taking place in the field to ensure work was done according to specifics.
“There are few anomalies that we have already noticed and have filed RTI to find out for ourselves. We will not rest until our projects do what they were meant to and will even go to Court to ensure we get what is due to us,” he asserted.
Central probe sought
The Human Rights and Anti-Corruption Youth Power of India has knocked on the doors of Centre, seeking a central investigation in the alleged large-scale irregularities in the implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) in the Garo Hills region.
In a letter to the Minister in-charge of Water Resources and Ministry of Jal Shakti, the its district secretary Flaming B Marak said, “The JJM has been implemented all over Garo Hills since 2019.
However, it is regretted to state that there are large scale irregularities and improper implementation of the scheme all over the region. There are complaints from almost all the villages where it is implemented. Due to its poor implementation, residents from the region are being deprived of accessing safe and pure drinking water which is a clear violation and an infringement of the fundamental rights provided in Article 21 of the Constitution.”
Marak urged the Ministry to depute a central investigation agency to conduct a proper inquiry into the alleged irregularities.

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