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Problems of availability of potable water and absence of sanitation services to millions of people living in Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Assam will soon get eased as the World Bank (WB) and the Government of India have drawn up a project towards this.

To be implemented by the National Rural Drinking Water Programme of the Union Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation (MoDWS) in a span of six years, the project includes provisions of piped water supply and sanitation coverage to these four states. The project aims to provide the 24 hours water supply throughout the week and tap solar energy.

The project is meant for low income group people in four states through two different modules: Single Village Schemes (SVSs) and Multi Village Schemes (MVSs). Under the SVSs, locally available groundwater sources will be used while the MVSs envisage utilization of surface water sources. Both the models aims at providing water to the people of those areas in these states where the local source is either not sustainable or not of acceptable quality. For this purpose, new infrastructure will be raised and existing schemes will be rehabilitated.

The WB, supporting these types of mass benefitting programmes since 1991, contributed 1.4 billion US Dollars so far benefitting about 24 million rural households spread over 15,000 villages in India. This project will support integrating water supply and sanitation interventions and promoting solid and liquid waste management and health and hygiene awareness programs.

The project will reduce the time spent by women in collecting water, which they can now use in other productive ways. This is in keeping with the government of India’s long-term strategy of covering 90% of the rural population with piped water supply through decentralized governance, participatory planning, and by improving water sources and schemes.

The sanitation component will support construction of soak-pits, drain and lane improvements, community awareness programs for improving sanitation and hygiene practices, along with incentives for achieving ‘open defecation free’ status.

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