ACS Jal Shakti addresses press conference on implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission in J&K

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‘97% of critical work components awarded through transparent e-tendering system’

SRINAGAR, Sept13:   Additional Chief Secretary Jal Shakti Department, Shaleen Kabra today gave an overview of the implementation of Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) in Jammu and Kashmir since the inception of the mission.

Addressing a press conference here at DIPR Auditorium, the ACS said that like all other States and UTs of the country Jal Jeevan Mission—a flagship program of Govt of India is being implemented in the UT of J&K with an aim to connect each and every rural household with Functional Household Tap Connections (FHTC).

Flanked by Mission Director Jal Jeevan Mission, Dr GN Itoo; Director Information, Minga Sherpa and Chief Engineer Jal Shakti Kashmir, the ACS said that the program shall be capable of providing drinking water at a minimum service level of 55 litres per person per day and its quality confirming to BIS 10500 Standards, regularly on a long term and sustainable basis. In UT of J&K, 3244 water supply schemes (including standalone schemes for Schools, Angawadi Centres, Health Institutions & Gram Panchayats) have been planned at an estimated cost of about Rs. 13000 crore to provide new and upgrade existing tap water connections of 18.67 lakh rural households for a sustainable, reliable and potable supply of drinking water to improve the living conditions of about 1.10 crore rural population.

Divulging further information, the ACS said that these water supply schemes comprise of about 6600 components like source development in the shape of Bore-wells, tube-wells & dug-wells besides Rapid Sand Filtration Plants, Over Head Tanks, Slow Sand Filtration Plants, Ground Service Reservoirs and pipe laying works aimed to augment the existing water supply system and to provide the new tap water connections in uncovered areas.

He informed that as on date about 97% of the critical work components have been awarded, all of them through transparent e-tendering system involving about 1700 contractors. This is in contrast to 14% in June, 2022. Similarly, the start of works has also picked up from 6% in June, 2023 to 73% as on date thereby indicating that the implementation of the mission is in full swing all across the UT. There is absolutely no compliant regarding any of the allotments, he said.

He said that as the infrastructure is being built to meet the requirements for next 30 years and a huge quantum of work is involved including laying of a vast pipe distribution network, hence the requirement of pipe material is equally large for which timely availability was to be ensured to avoid the delay in implementation of the mission without compromising on the fairness, accountability and transparency of the procurement process as envisaged in the GFR 2017 and Manual for Procurement of Goods 2017.

Talking about the financial powers, Kabra said that in strict compliance to the GFR 2017, Manual for Procurement of Goods 2017 and S.0 15 dated 09-01-2020 delegating the financial powers for award/ sanction of contracts, UT of MK has been able to purchase 60% of the total pipe requirement as on date through complete e-tendering and scrutiny through a UT level purchase committee headed by Development Commissioner Works and with members across the departments like Finance, l&C, MED etc. which was less than 5 % in June, 2022.

“About 24 OEMs have been involved in supply of pipes through competitive tendering. While doing so, on the advice of the National Jal Jeevan Mission and in view of the difficulties being faced in timely supply of GI pipes, cost effective and technically feasible HDPE pipes are also being used, especially in Jammu province which has not only resulted in increase in supply rate but a saving of about Rs. 430.00 crore is expected in the overall estimated cost of the projects,” he informed. 

Under Water Quality Monitoring & Surveillance, he added, a component under Jal Jeevan Mission which aims to ensure that quality of water being supplied is as per the standards of BIS 10500 to improve the health conditions in rural areas especially children & women.

“98 water testing laboratories have been set up/ strengthened across the UT, and 11 of them have been accredited by NABL,for testing of water samples the reports of which are made available on the WQMIS portal which is in the public domain,” the ACS said.

In order to involve the communities in the surveillance of the water quality, the ACS informed that they field testing Kits (FTKs) have been made available to Pani Samiti Members. As on date 7200 FTKs have been distribute and 32000 women have been trained for use of these FTKs.

Also, he said to involve the communities in planning, monitoring & implementing the Jal Jeevan Mission in villages, Pani Samitis have been constituted in all the villages of the UT who are involved in monitoring of the works at village level and on the completion of these schemes. About 23000 meetings of Pani Samitis/ special Gram Sabhas/ Jan Sabhas have been held in connection with the planning and monitoring of JJM works besides Har Ghar Jal Certification of the villages where 100% FHTCs have been provided. As on 31st August, 3088.00 Crore has been expended since the start of the Mission, out of which Rs. 2600.00 Crore have been spent during last 12 months.

The ACS informed that during the Current financial year, the UT has spent Rs. 1447.06 Crore and has been able to lift two tranches of funds amounting Rs. 1433.56 Crores from GoI.

He said that from last few weeks, some incorrect and malafide information has been propagated in respect of the implementation of the Jal Jeevan Mission in the UT of J&K and in this backdrop, it is imperative to make few points clear to the general public and to all the stakeholders:

1.     A scam of 13000 crore has been alleged when on the other hand it has been stated that only 800 Crore have been spent till August, 2023. But the public is being misled in both these aspects as neither any scam has taken place nor the figures given in respect of the expenditure are correct as the total expenditure in JJM as on 31st August is Rs.3088.30 Crores and every allotment/ contract has been awarded strictly following the process laid down in the GFR. Such allegations are complete nonsense and made by people who have no understanding.

2.     All the works have been awarded through a transparent and competitive e-tendering system after accord of Administrative Approvals, Technical Sanctions (wherever required before tendering). The works have been allotted strictly as per the Financial Powers delegated vide S.0 15 of 2020 dated: 09-01-2020 and on the approvals of SBD and rates from the UT level Committee headed by the Development Commissioner Works, the senior most engineer in the UT, and with the consent of the District Jal Jeevan Missions (DJJMs) headed by the respective District Development Commissioners it may be noted that no contract has been awarded  without e-tendering. 

3.     The PHE used to allot all works departmentally, against the law laid down by the Constitution and the instructions, GFR, etc. During 2019, e-tendering was made mandatory. Initial attempt was made to allot these works on composite tender basis. Since there was very poor response due to limited capabilities in the UT, a revision was made in consultation with experts/ in accordance with guidelines. The results are there for everyone to see in terms of progress on ground. This fact has been acknowledged in the letter dated: 20th July 2022 when the person was heading the department.

4.     All the figures with regard to progress in implementation of the jai Jeevan Mission is being reported by the field Divisions on the IMIS and which is being captured and displayed on the said portal/ dashboard on a real-time basis. All these details viz; physical progress, financial progress, water quality monitoring reports etc. are available on the respective portals which are in public domain. The releases and expenditure by the UT, scheme wise, is available in public domain on Jan-bhagidari, as the same is made through BEAMS. The progress is being monitored through IMIS only and no physical communication is being made in this regard. Any household tap connection provided is reported on IMIS portal with Aadhar based identification. The Pani Samitis monitor the progress in addition to the engineering officials, third party monitoring agencies and DPMUs.

5.      The schemes ongoing under different other heads are also being completed and an expenditure of about Rs. 210 Crore has been made under erstwhile NRDWP, NABARD and JKIDFC Schemes. All these schemes shall be completed within the mission period. Due diligence has improved execution of schemes under JKIDFC funding and a much less quantum is likely to be shifted from that estimated in June, 2022 — 459 schemes costing about Rs. 783.72 crores.

6.     All the advisories received from the Anti-Corruption Bureau J&K have been circulated to the filed officers including Deputy Commissioners for strict adherence and for corrective actions, if needed to be taken. None pointed out any malpractices or allotment of tenders without following due process.

7.     It is also clarified that all types of pipes (GI, DI & HDPE) are being procured through transparent and competitive e-tendering and as per the provisions of GFR/ manual for procurement of Goods 2017 A dedicated UT level Purchase Committee has been constituted under the chairmanship of Development Commissioner Works, the senior most engineer in the UT, for approving the SBD and the rates before the supply orders are made by the competent authority as per SO 15 of 2020, dated 09-01-2020.

In case of GI pipes, the purchases have been made under the existing rate contract within the provisions of Manual for Procurement of Goods 2017 after higher rates were quoted by the bidders in the fresh tender issued in this regard and to save time required for fresh tendering process, the existing rate contract has been operated by the CE PHE Kashmir on the approval of the UT Level Purchase Committee and after the decision of 6th Apex Committee Meeting within the provisions of Manual for Procurement of Goods. It is estimated to have saved about Rs. 72crores besides timely availability of GI pipes.

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