Lumbini to expand access to drinking water


Lumbini Province government has started work to expand access to drinking water.

The province government said it had accorded top priority to expanding access to drinking water in a planned manner since the constitution of Nepal has recognised access to safe drinking water and sanitation as the fundamental right of every citizen.

Minister of Physical Infrastructure Development of Lumbini Province Baijanath Chaudhary said the ministry had allocated budget for the project in a bid to realise the vision of one tap, one household in the province in three years.

He said that the province government was formulating a Water and Sanitation Health plan in a planned manner to identify places where access to drinking water needed to be expanded and to improve the quality of the drinking water in places with drinking water supply.

“The policy of social justice is respected only when works are carried out in a planned way,” the physical infrastructure development minister said.

The federal government had handed over to the province government 680 projects with investment equivalent to Rs 21 billion that were being implemented in the province.

Minister Chaudhary said his ministry had allocated budget for construction of these projects. “The ministry has become successful in spending 156 per cent capital expenditure, more than the allocated budget, in the previous fiscal year despite the risk of the coronavirus pandemic,” he said.

The minister added since these projects could not be completed with the budget allocated by the ministry alone, they had urged the federal government to provide Rs 2.80 billion conditional grant for completing the water supply projects.

He said that 91 projects would be completed within this year itself if this funding was provided.

He said construction of projects under the equalisation budget was also expedited and a fund of one billion rupees had been guaranteed for this.

Minister Chaudhary opined that the construction of projects would be expedited once the synchronisation between resource management and organisational capacity was ensured.

The province government minister said they had demanded additional Rs 8 billion from the federal government and Finance Minister Bishnu Poudel had given positive response in that regard.

Rapid urbanisation and construction of physical infrastructure such as roads and bridges in the province in recent years has resulted in the depletion of water sources. Minister Chaudhary said conservation of water sources and sustainable management of water supply projects was the main challenge in this context.

He suggested that every local level formulate policy for construction of water reservoir in rivers and streams for the supply of drinking water in their areas to address the problem of depleting water sources.