Port Blair, May 24: A Central Team comprising of Central Nodal Officer, Shri Vikas Anand, IAS, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Panchayati Raj, GoI and Technical Officer, Smt. Ritu Kumari Oraon, Scientist- 'C', Central Ground Water Board are on a three day’s visit to Andaman & Nicobar Islands for review of Jal Shakti Abhiyan (JSA)-Catch the Rain 2023 Campaign under National Water Mission.

JSA-CTR 2023 with the theme of ‘Source Sustainability for Drinking Water’ has been launched to promote water conservation and preservation of water sources through Rain Water Harvesting. A&N Islands has participated in the campaign since 2019 and successfully took up many activities promoting rain water harvesting in the Islands under Catch the Rain Campaign.

National Water Mission after evaluating various criteria has identified North and Middle Andaman as water stressed district and issued direction to take up various work under convergence with different Departments to make it a water surplus district. Shri Vikas Anand, IAS, Joint Secretary, MoPR, GoI has been appointed as Central Nodal Officer to monitor and review progress of implementation under JSA CTR-2023.

The team visited North & Middle Andaman on May 22 & 23, 2023 and inspected various sites of Amrit Sarovar, major water supply infrastructure at Diglipur, Mayabunder and Rangat accompanied by Shri Ankit Yadav, IAS, Deputy Commissioner, North and Middle Andaman and other District officials. The team held intensive interaction with public, Gram Panchayat Officials during inspection and advised them to adopt rain water harvesting and protect water bodies in their areas to ensure water supply is ensured during lean period. He also requested Panchayat to take up rainwater harvesting as community activity. District Administration was advised to use GIS and Remote based technology and plan water conservation structure at potential site to ensure maximum retention of surface runoff and maximum ground water recharge.

The team alongwith the officials visited proposed sites like Khudirampur Dam, Korang Nallah and discussed the plans for augmentation of water sources with the concerned officials and requested them to expedite the process of various types of clearance and DPR preparation to ensure early start of these project, so that future sustainable water supply in the district can be ensured.

Central team appreciated efforts of District Administrators in timely identification of sites for Amrit Sarovar and other sources planned for development for sustainable water supply in the District. Team was very much impressed with speedy completion of Amrit Sarovar in the district and their proper maintenance.

The team also held a meeting with Officials of APWD and Department of Rural Development at Secretariat Conference Hall. Shri Arjun Sharma, IAS, Secretary (APWD) and Ms. Vedhita Reddy, IAS, Secretary (RD) were also present. He expressed happiness over completion of more than 207 Amrit Sarovars in A&N Islands which is great achievement in this direction. It was also suggested to carry out repair/replacement of old and damaged pipelines to reduce the loss of precious water during transportation and augment water supply to villages from source and treatment plant. Reduction in transmission losses shall ensure more water availability to the villagers. He urged Technical Officer, CGWB to help in periodic measurement of ground water recharging for better management of groundwater. Shri Vikas Anand, also reviewed the functioning of Panchayati Raj Institution with Secretary (RD) and assured all help in strengthening the functioning of Panchayati Raj Institution in A&N Islands.