In yet another populist measure with an eye on the forthcoming general and Assembly elections, the Odisha government has announced a plan for supply of piped water to 1048 tribal villages in the next three years.
The decision was taken at a high-level review meeting presided over by chief minister Naveen Patnaik at the State Secretariat here on Wednesday.
Nearly one lakh tribal people in Kandhamal, Koraput, Nabarangpur, Rayagada, Kalahandi, Gajapati and Malkangiri districts, especially the Bondas of Koraput and Lanjia Souras of Rayagada and Gajapati districts would now get piped water.
The state government has earmarked Rs 100 crore for the project.
Briefing newsmen after the meeting, principal secretary, Rural Development CJ Venugopal said the piped water project is being implemented in 8470 out of a total 32785 habitations in the state.
The department has taken up 1300 piped water projects this year which would be implemented at 845 gram panchayat head offices, he said. In the first phase, 870 stand-posts with a capacity of 2000 litres each would be set up in 830 villages.
It was decided that every house in all the villages in 6236 panchayats with a high population density will be provided with piped water in the next five years, he added.
Expressing concern over fluoride content in drinking water in Nuapada district, the chief minister asked the department to take immediate steps.
Among others, chief secretary JK Mohapatra, additional chief secretary to chief minister AP Padhi, and development commissioner I Srinivas were present at the meeting.