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NEW DELHI : Four more districts are on their way to achieving ‘Har Ghar Jal’ status soon, the department of drinking water and sanitation (DDWS) said on Tuesday, making for a grand total of five in a country of 773 districts.

“Amritsar (Punjab) currently stands at 99.49%, Navsari (Gujarat) at 99.89%, Bilaspur (Himachal Pradesh) at 98.54% and Indore (Madhya Pradesh) at 89.76%," the department said.

Burhanpur in Madhya Pradesh last week became the first district to be awarded the status—which requires every rural household to have tap water.

The central government has asked the gram panchayats of these districts to submit video evidence of all households receiving tap water.

Only about 11,000 villages, a mere 2% of India’s 600,000-odd villages, have been certified to have tap water connections in all houses despite the Jal Jeevan Mission marking the 51% mark. Har Ghar Jal falls under this Mission.

Burhanpur took 34 months of extensive work and an expenditure of 129.43 crore to achieve the status.

The district met all the new guidelines issued by the government and formed water and sanitation committees in all its 254 villages, accounting for over 100,000 households, to push the process.

“The achievement of Har Ghar Jal in Burhanpur is a reason for joy and serves as motivation to all states to implement Jal Jeevan Mission in its true spirit, with emphasis on community engagement while ensuring saturation," said Vini Mahajan, secretary, DDWS, Jal Shakti.

“We are hand-holding state administrations to achieve the status of being finally certified as Har Ghar Jal." Burhanpur’s achievements are substantial.

Only 37,241 (36.54%) out of a total of 101,905 rural households in Burhanpur had drinking water through tap connections when Jal Jeevan Mission was launched on 15 August 2019.

“In addition to the households, all 640 schools, 547 Anganwadi centres and 440 other public institutions now also have tap connections. The 440 public institutions include 167 Gram Panchayats, 50 healthcare centres, 109 community centres, 45 ashramshalas, two community toilets and 67 other government offices," DDWS said.

Village water and sanitation committees are responsible for the operation, maintenance and repair of the water supply infrastructure developed under ‘Har Ghar Jal’.

It also has the responsibility of collecting user-charges which are deposited in a bank and used for paying the pump operator’s salary and carry out minor repair work from time to time.

So far under the Jal Jeevan Mission, three states—Goa, Telangana and Haryana— have reported providing 100% tap water coverage, as have four UTs—Andaman and Nicobar Islands, Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Daman and Diu, and Puducherry.

They also have a month to provide the evidence of their accomplishment.

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