“My vision is to provide treated drinking water for all by 2020 and make Arunachal Pradesh an open defecation free state by 2018” said PHED and Water Supply Minister Bamang Felix while addressing the first coordination meeting of PHE department officers after assuming the charge of minister PHED here today. If the things work out as per the vision plan, Arunachal would be second after Sikkim to complete the project before time set by Government of India i.e. 2021 for drinking water and 2019 for open defacation free state.
While observing that PHED is not just an executing department only dealing with constructions, Felix asserted that this is an important social sector department mandated with one of the most important task of providing potable drinking water. “It is a vista of providing better and dignified living for our people. The Public, Health and Water – PHED & WS are three corner stones of this deptt. The responsibility therefore is very large”, Felix said.
On reviewing the work of the department, the minister appreciated the officers and staffs for the good work. He however called for translating this very good into excellent.
While unleashing his plans and vision for the department, Felix said that apart from providing drinking water and making Arunachal open defecation free state, steps on identifying and protecting the catchment areas/ the source of water should be initiated on priority. “Our planning for water supply is concentrated on number of years in accordance to the growth of population in next 30-40 years. But we fail to ensure that the catchment area/perrineal source from where the water is being extracted would be capable enough to fulfil the requirement till the period of project” Felix questioned. He therefore pitched to protect the catchment areas through a policy which would ensure protection of such perrineal sources and make it a safe zone for future consumption. He exhorted for a parallel effort from the department to work in tandem with the environment and forest department to conserve the lush green forest which is the main source of water.
Felix while disclosing strategies to achieve the desired target, opined to make a concrete execution plan to achieve these targets. He said “we need to identify all possible funding sources, make assessment of the existing manpower and set goals/ targets for each one of them. Assessment of the technical and non technical gap of each employee and get a training need analysis in regular intervals. He further suggested to retrieve, compile and document authentic data by using GIS/remote sensing of the settlements, their future growth and expansion and identify suitable water sources close to the settlements. He also opined for extensive use of technology, digital means and latest available software to leverage and make the department smarter for achieving the goals apart from identifying the best and latest knowledge base in the water and sanitation and adopt the best international practices in the state.
Participating in the meeting, Commissioner PHED H K Shalla called for imbibing work culture in the department. He exhorted the officers to work with a missionary zeal to fulfil the vision plan of the department.
Among others, Chief Engineers , SEs, EEs, ASWs and department officers/officials were present during the coordination meeting.