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Parliamentary panel raps water ministry

Posted on Nov 28, 10:08PM | IANS

A parliamentary panel has rapped the water resources ministry for not undertaking any study for identifying water bodies.

The Standing Committee on Water Resources, in its report tabled in parliament Tuesday, asked the government to compile information about the exact number and status of water bodies, including the expenditure on upkeep.

It said an alarming number of water bodies were becoming permanently unusable due to factors such as salinity, sea water intrusion and industrial effluents.

"The government (should) compile a comprehensive and up-to-date information about the exact number and the status of water bodies spread all over the country to initiate an all-out and integrated efforts for repair, renovation and restoration."

"Shockingly, the ministry has not undertaken any study for identification of water bodies and has also not evolved any criteria for categorisation of water bodies as large or small and the expenditure incurred on their upkeep and maintenance," the report said.

It said the government should, at the earliest, collect and compile such data and place it in public domain.

The report on "repair, renovation and restoration of water bodies" also said that water should be included in the concurrent list to put in place a legislative framework for their sustainable management throughout the country.

It also called for effective mechanism for monitoring quality in water bodies and removal of encroachments.

The report recommended early completion of census of water bodies and allotment of unique codes.

It said the government should explore the possibility of extending state funding to repair and renovate private water bodies in the 12th five-year plan.

According to the third census of minor irrigation (2005), there were 5.50 lakh water bodies in the country of which 2.39 lakh were public water bodies and the remaining private.