Quality Quandary: J&K’s rural water woes expose critical gaps in JJM

Vikram Sharma. Updated: 5/15/2024 12:15:30 AM Front Page

Error-prone FTKs raise doubts on accuracy of assessments conducted by non-experts

JAMMU: The situation regarding the supply of safe potable water highlights a critical issue in the implementation of the Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) in Jammu and Kashmir.
As the government intensifies efforts to accelerate the implementation of the ambitious Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM), aimed at providing tap water to every household across the Jammu and Kashmir, concerns have been raised regarding the quality of drinking water, particularly in rural areas.
While the mission aims to provide tap water to every household, the quality of drinking water, especially in rural areas, remains a concern due to the lack of certified testing laboratories at the grassroots level.
The reliance on makeshift testing methods, such as those conducted by schools, Anganwadi Centers, and village women using Free Testing Kits (FTKs), underscores the urgent need for accessible and reliable water quality testing infrastructure in rural areas.
While these grassroots-level testers are making efforts to ensure water safety, concerns about the accuracy of their assessments have been raised.
Equipped with Free Testing Kits (FTKs) provided by the government, these grassroots-level testers endeavor to ensure that drinking water meets safety standards. However, concerns have been raised regarding the reliability of these makeshift testing methods.
At times, the results obtained through FTKs are error-prone, raising doubts about the accuracy of the assessments conducted by non-experts.
The recent review conducted by Chief Secretary Atal Dulloo is a positive step towards addressing these challenges. By enquiring about the status of Panchayats covered under the mission, households certified as 'Nal se Jal', and progress on different schemes, the Chief Secretary demonstrated a commitment to ensuring accountability and progress within the JJM.
Additionally, the Chief Secretary's emphasis on monitoring water quality of completed schemes and assessing feasibility of labs established by the department shows recognition of the importance of reliable testing infrastructure.
Moreover, his directive to impart necessary training to PaniSamities and those responsible for running the schemes in villages aligns with the need for capacity building at the grassroots level.
“The reliance on makeshift testing methods underscores the urgent need for accessible and reliable water quality testing infrastructure in rural areas. Without certified laboratories at the grassroots level, ensuring the safety of drinking water remains a formidable challenge”, said an official.
Though challenges persist in ensuring the safety of drinking water in rural areas of Jammu and Kashmir, the attention and actions of government officials like Chief Secretary Atal Dulloo signal a proactive approach towards addressing these issues and advancing the goals of the Jal Jeevan Mission.

Updated On 5/15/2024 12:17:10 AM

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