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Maoist-hit villages in dual solar pump plan

Ranchi, Dec. 25: A central plan for piped water supply through dual solar powered pumps will cover six panchayats in Saranda, with Union minister Jairam Ramesh closely monitoring progress to effect a promised turnaround at villages in the former rebel hub in West Singhbhum.

According to a report prepared by the Union drinking water and sanitation department, the panchayats — Amjhor, Edarbari, Dobha, Charchakka, Hatibari and Kumrasol — are all suffering from poor quality water.

The Centre’s Integrated Action Plan (IAP), meant for development projects in left-wing extremism affected districts, will offer the dual pumps. The motor of the dual pump is solar power-driven. However, it can also be operated when solar power fails.

Ramesh, who visited Ranchi recently, appreciated the state government’s progress in carrying out projects under the Saranda Development Plan that was launched in the forest after it was reclaimed from Maoists following a joint operation last year.

The Union rural development minister expects the dial pumps in Saranda to be functional before he visits the state next month.

Additional chief secretary Sudhir Prasad pointed out that such pumps were already functional in Latehar district.

“Work on expansion of the scheme in other Naxalite-affected IAP districts too are is on in full swing. Sixty per cent of the requisite funds are being provided by the Minnesota Renewable Energy Society, while the state government is bearing the remaining 40 per cent under the national renewable energy programme,” he told The Telegraph.

The Centre recently approved the proposal to facilitate the dual pump scheme in all Naxalite-affected areas across the country under the IAP.

As many as 57,157 habitations will be targeted nationwide, of which 3,149 are quality affected. It will cover also 14,430 habitations in far-flung areas.

Seventeen districts — Bokaro, Chatra, Garhwa, Giridih, Gumla, Hazaribagh, Khunti, Koderma, Latehar, Lohardaga, Palamau, East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum, Ramgarh, Ranchi, Seraikela-Kharsawan and Simdega districts — in Jharkhand figure on the list of beneficiaries.

“While 78 habitations are faced with poor quality of water, we also need to target over 1,844 non-quality affected habitations under the scheme. The plan is practically spread over 18 districts in Jharkhand,” Prasad added.

The Centre’s report also suggests that eight panchayats of Ranchi district, based in Kanke, Namkum and Ratu blocks, too, will be benefited by the scheme. All the panchayats will be given one dual pump each.