Lumbini province government gears up to expand access to drinking water
Kathmandu : The Lumbini province government has pursued the expansion of access to drinking water with priority.
The province government has said it has laid emphasis on expansion of access to drinking water in a planned manner in the province since the Constitution of Nepal has recognized providing access to safe drinking water and sanitation to every citizen as the fundamental right.
Minister for Physical Infrastructure Development of Lumbini province, Baijanath Chaudhary said the ministry has allocated budget with priority in the water supply sector in line with the goal of reaching one tap in every house at all the settlements of the province in three years.
He shared that the province government was formulating a Water and Sanitation Health (WASH) plan in order to work in a planned manner for identifying the places where the access to drinking water needs to be expanded and for improving the quality of the drinking water in places where the access has already been reached.
“The policy of social justice is respected only when works are carried out in a planned way,” the Physical Infrastructure Development Minister said.
The federal government had handed over to the province government 680 projects with investment equivalent to Rs 21 billion and that were under implementation in the province.
Minister Chaudhary said his ministry has allocated budget for the construction of these projects.
“The Ministry has become successful in spending 156 per cent capital expenditure, more than the allocated budget, in the previous fiscal year despite the risk of the coronavirus pandemic,” he said, adding that since these projects could not be completed with the budget allocated by the Ministry alone, they have urged the federal government for Rs 2.80 billion conditional grant for completing the water supply projects.
The minister said that 91 projects would be completed within this year itself if this funding was provided.
He said construction of projects under the equalization budget was also expedited and fund of one billion rupees has been guaranteed for this. Minister Chaudhary opined that the construction of projects would be speeded up once there is synchronization between resource management and organizational capacity.
The province government minister said that they have demanded for additional Rs 8 billion with the federal government and Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel has given positive response to that connection.
Rapid urbanization and construction of physical infrastructures as roads and bridges in the province in recent years has resulted in the depletion of water sources. Minister Chaudhary said conservation of water sources and sustainable management of water supply projects was the main challenge in this context.
He suggested every local level to formulate policy for construction of water reservoir in rivers and streams for the supply of drinking water in their areas to address the problem of depleting water sources.