Experts' visit to chalk out sanitation scheme

Ranchi, Jan. 16: A World Bank team today met panchayat representatives and government officials during a seminar in the state capital to successfully float a Rs-950 crore rural drinking water and sanitation scheme in 12 districts.

Sources said the scheme would be initially executed in Khunti, Seraikela-Kharsawan, East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum, Palamau, Garhwa, Lohardaga, Dhanbad, Sahebganj, Godda, Pakur and Jamtara.

The districts will benefit from drinking water and toilet facilities, while World Bank-aided scheme will also focus on efficient management of solid and liquid wastes.

Groundwork of the first phase of the project is likely to begin in May or June.

Led by economist Smita Mishra, the seven-member team that reached here yesterday talked to senior officials of various departments concerned as well as zilla parishad chiefs, NGOs and village panchayat heads.

Later, Mishra also met chief secretary S.K. Choudhary.

Officials of key departments including rural development, the groundwater directorate, panchayati raj, pollution control board and the Indian Institute of Management, too, participated in the seminar.

"Through this seminar, we are also compiling sector-wise requirements of various districts," said drinking water and sanitation engineer-in-chief Shardendu Narayan.

"The World Bank team led by its mission head Smita Mishra will undertake field visits tomorrow. They will be going to Jamshedpur, Seraikela and Khunti. Their feedback will be discussed on January 18. They are on a four-day tour of the state," said additional chief secretary Sudhir Prasad.

Replying to another question, he said that the scheme would be functional in Jharkhand for the next six years. World Bank will prepare detailed project reports based on specific needs of the districts.

The idea, he added, was to ensure that every household availed of toilet and drinking water facilities.

Prasad added that the World Bank team was visiting Jharkhand for the third time. "Officially, the proposed scheme will be functional on April 1. Completing other formalities to begin groundwork may take a few more weeks."

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