National Urban Water and Sanitation Awards
RECOGNIZING EXCELLENCE IN URBAN WATER MANAGEMENT
Chhattisgarh State Urban Development Agency (CG-SUDA) and Bhilai Municipal Corporation
Bhagirathi Nal-Jal Yojana in Chhattisgarh: An Initiative for Inclusive Growth
Bhagirathi Nal Jal Yojana is an urban water management scheme launched by Government of Chhattisgarh (GoCG) in August 2009 promoting inclusive urban growth through improved service to the poor. The urban poor households who apply for the scheme would be provided with a free water supply connection and the capital cost of the connection would be borne by the state government. The applicant must pay the water charges as prescribed. The Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) will be lead implementing agencies of the scheme as per circulated guidelines, which have to be adhered to assess the funding for providing water supply connections to uncovered urban poor households. ULBs will submit a reimbursement demand to Chhattisgarh State Urban Development Agency (CG-SUDA), the state nodal agency for the scheme. The scheme targets to provide three lakh free connections called 'Bhagirathi Connections' to urban poor households in the State.

Last mile connectivity is the focus of the scheme and Bhilai has been considered as the pilot ULB to implement the scheme, where the water supply project for design year 2021 is under execution. Bhilai with a target of providing 50,000 connections has so far managed to receive 24,000 applications of which 8,600 free connections are completed. Thirteen other ULBs have also initiated the implementation of the scheme and about 125,000 connections have been sanctioned so far.

Context




Chhattisgarh State is formed in 2000 has 5.8 million urban population (23.2%) across 169 ULBs. 50 percent of the urban populations reside in 10 municipal corporations, viz., Raipur, Bhilai, Korba, Bilaspur, Durg, Rajnandgaon, Raigarh, Ambikapur, Jagdalpur and Chirmiri. Almost 49 percent of state's urban population constitutes urban poor. Despite best efforts, the ULBs are constrained to provide basic services to urban poor.

Recognizing the fact that low water supply coverage in majority of the ULBs is due to prevailing high connection costs acting as entry barriers and forcing the urban poor to depend on Public Stand Posts (PSPs) and water tankers, GoCG introduced Bhagirathi Nal Jal Yojana scheme in August 2009. The scheme not only aims at enhancing water supply access to urban poor by providing free connections, but also focuses on promoting better Operation and Maintenance (O&M) practices by levying user charge revenues - essential for sustaining water supply systems in the ULBs.

Before the initiative, there was insufficient drinking water service in urban poor localities, excessive dependence on PSPs, low water supply coverage, severe quarrels and violence among citizens to collect the water, improper timings of water supply through PSPs and Tankers, problems to women in fetching water at odd timings which impacts the livelihood and education and overall heavy financial loss to the ULB.

Once the urban poor households are provided with access to water connections it is envisaged that the public stand posts be phased out and ULBs move towards user charge regime. The ULBs have already started generating revenues from Bhagirathi connections through fixed user charges of Rs. 60/- per month. The scheme is offering several benefits to urban poor by improving their quality of life, saving of time and energy especially to women folk, reducing cases of nuisance, quarrels at PSPs, increased citizen satisfaction r, and improved family health.
Initiative
The major objective of Bhagirathi Nal Jal Yojana is to provide potable piped water supply facility to three lakh urban poor families on affordable terms and also to migrate from free-be regime to user fee regime. The scheme intends to include urban poor in the growth process by improving their life conditions, especially those of women, by easing their struggle for basic services like water.

Through Bhagirathi Nal Jal Yojana it is envisaged that all the urban poor households get individual water connection, after which the PSPs could be gradually phased out reducing the extent of Non-Revenue Water (NRW).
Key features
The scheme is open to all municipal corporations, municipalities and nagar panchayat in Chhattisgarh. The Mayor-in-Council (MIC)/President-in-Council (PIC) of the ULBs are authorized to selects slum/s according to their priority. For the effective implementation of the scheme, a committee is formed at the ULB level. The ward member/councilor of the selected ward and the assistant engineer in charge of water supply are members of this committee. Other members may be nominated by the MIC.

The ULB organizes mobilization camps in the slum wherein the points of the scheme are explained to the people, and applications are mobilized. Application procedures have been simplified and the applicant has to submit a simple application form requesting for piped water supply facility in his house. The sanction is accorded on the spot.

The applicant's title to the house is not mandatory. However, it is made explicitly clear through an undertaking that the grant of piped water connection does not confer a title over the land.

Once the applications are received, scrutinized and sanctioned, the committee computes the funding requirements for implementation of the scheme in that slum. Accordingly, the reimbursement demand is raised on the CG-SUDA. However, the ULB need not wait for receipt of funds from CG-SUDA. It proceeds with execution and CG-SUDA scrutinizes the demand and releases funds to ULB.

Under the scheme, the ULB is reimbursed the cost incurred on the following tasks:
  • B class GIS distribution pipe
  • Excavation and minor civil works
  • Tap fittings
  • Cost of meter
The ULB will normally be reimbursed according to actual expenses, subject to a ceiling of Rs. 3,000/- per connection.
Impact
The Bhagirathi Nal Jal Yojana scheme is still in the early stages of implementation in many ULBs across Chhattisgarh, but has demonstrated encouraging results till this stage of implementation. Pilot implementation of the scheme is being taken up in Bhilai Municipal Corporation. About 24,000 applications have been received for free connections under Bhagirathi Nal Jal Yojana, of which 17,500 are approved for implementation and 8,600 connections are already operationalised. BMC targets to achieve 50,000 Bhagirathi connections within the next one year. 13 more ULBs have already availed the benefits of the scheme and 12,400 connections are sanctioned across these ULBs.

The ULBs have already started generating revenues in the form of fixed user charges from Bhagirathi Connections. And the citizens not averse to paying user charge of Rs. 60/- per month e.g. Nagar Panchayat of Bhaagbagaara is collecting 100% user charges for the Bhagirathi connections (200 nos.)
For further details, contact:

Chief Executive Officer
Chhattisgarh State Urban Development Agency (CG-SUDA)
RDA Building, Bajrang Complex
GE Road, Raipur - 492 001
Chhattisgarh
Ph: 0771 - 4053739
Fax: 0771 - 4008444
Mobile: 09755047876
Email: suda_rda@yaoo.co.in


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