Water woes in Udupi: Deshpande takes officials to task

Team Udayavani, Jun 19, 2019, 12:11 PM IST

Udupi: Revenue minister R V Deshpande took government officials to task for failing to tackle water shortage woes effectively in the district, at a review meeting held at Rajathadari on Tuesday, June 18.

The minister said that there is no lack of funds for drinking water management but, government officials need to work sincerely and actively towards solving problems.

“Government officials should welcome the public when they approach any department. They should develop discipline. PDOs have failed miserably in getting the drains cleared,” he said.

“Bureaucrats are not king makers. We are the government. Officials should work hard and not bring bad name to the government. Officers should move to rural and urban places and be alert. In next 15 days, do try to visit all panchayats by sharing responsibilities,” said Mr Deshpande disappointed with the poor response of the officials.

Speaking on the occasion, Zilla Panchayat CEO Sindhu Rupesh informed that there are 158 panchayats in the district and only three executive officers are working and added that she had given instructions to clean drains in all panchayats before elections.

The minister instructed the CEO to send intimations to all PDOs to visit all panchayats in eight days and submit report on drainage management.

Blaming CMC for failing to take necessary precautions before monsoon, MLA Raghupati Bhat said, “CMC has failed to supply water in tankers in many places. Tender has been cleared for only four wards out of 35 under CMC. The local councillors as well as me have put money from our own pockets to solve water problem,” he said.

Taking CMC commissioner Anand Kallolikar to task along with other officials, Mr Deshpande said, “June month is coming to an end and now the tender has got finalized. What is the benefit? Is this the way of working? Though there is no lack of funds, why is water not being supplied? This is insult to government. This shows negligence and disinterest in the working of the officials,” he lashed out.

“Let’s extend the tanker water facilities to areas wherever necessary,” said the minister and added that the district administration can use local councillors to Swacchatha programme.

“A fund of Rs 45 lakh has been sanctioned to the municipality for arranging drinking water facilities. There is need to find out permanent solution with regard to water supply. Tanker water is a temporary solution. Within a short time, district administration needs to plan and discuss with officers. It is the duty of protecting the government assets. All officers have same accountability. There are 1600 bore wells in the district, but this is huge number. This is a serious issue and the reason for the increasing number of bore wells should be investigated,” the minister informed the DC.

Responding to MLA Bhat’s allegation that the Forest Department was not allotting land to constructing sites citing the reason of plantation on the land the minister directed the forest officer to clearly state the problems on allotting land to construction sites. “There is no need to have plantations in other departmental sites,” he added.

Prioritize provision of drinking water

“I have given clear cut instructions. People and animals should not suffer due to lack of water. The problem of scarcity of grass should not arise. There is less progress under National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) in the district. The government has sanctioned enough funds for the Udupi district administration,” said the minister.

The minister informed that a um of Rs 24 crore is reserved for water and flood management activities Rs 6 crores under State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) and Rs 18 crore under National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

“I have gone through the rainfall report of the district. Except 2005, 2010, 2017, there was drought in last 14 years. No one will believe that there are no rains in coastal region,” said the minister.

“We have stressed for the supply of water through tankers. There is no compromise in providing drinking water supply. We have sanctioned enough funds. Officers should work actively and move around the district, rural areas to understand the ground reality. In my experience, most of the officers will not do it. It is a must that they should remain in touch with people and should put in sincere efforts in completing the work. The officers need to keep the confidence people have on them and people’s representatives,” said Mr Deshpande.

Responding to media’s question regarding absence of Udupi district-in-charge minister Dr Jayamala, especially when the district is suffering, Deshpande said, “She contacted me last night and told me about the meeting. Let us show some concern towards women. She will definitely conduct meeting here soon,” he assured and added that presently she was attending a state-level meeting.

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