Bhubaneshwar: Odisha’s Puri has become the first city in the state to offer drink-from-tap services. As a result, the city now has safe drinking water that can be used directly from the tap for cooking and drinking without requiring additional filtration.
On Monday, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik inaugurated the ‘Sujal’ or drink-from-the-tap mission. Puri is the first city in the country that has 24-hour quality drinking water from the tap thanks to the government’s drink-from-the-tap initiative.
According to a statement issued by the Chief Minister’s Office, ‘Puri has now joined the elite group of international cities like London, New York and Singapore in providing quality water from municipal taps throughout the day.’ Around 2.5 lakh residents of Puri will benefit from the move.
As he addressed the media on Monday, CM Patnaik said: ‘Today marks the beginning of a new chapter in the history of not only Puri, but the entire state of Odisha. Families living in Puri Dham of Mahaprabhu will now have access to clean drinking water 24 hours a day. Under the Sujal scheme, one can drink water directly from the tap. Storage or filter is not required.’
As the chief minister thanked the State Housing & Urban Development Department, he continued to say, ‘Within nine months, 2.5 lakh people in Puri will have access to Sujal. It will also benefit the two crore tourists who visit Puri every year. They would not have to carry water bottles everywhere.’ Moreover, he said that 400 water fountains have been installed in Puri, including those on the Grand Road. This initiative will reduce the amount of plastic waste produced in the city every day.
Patnaik, highlighting the benefits of the Sujal scheme, said, ‘This is a perfect model for the 5T initiative. Good drinking water has a strong link with health, living standards and the economy. Therefore, I urge people not to waste water or pollute it. The budget for drinking water has more than doubled in five years. The previous water budget of Rs 200 crore has now reached Rs 4,000 crore.’
According to Durgashankar Mishra, secretary, Housing and Urban Affairs, ‘The implementation of the country’s first drink-from-tap project on the first Monday of the month of Shravan in Mahaprabhu Jagannath’s city is a matter of great pride. The chief minister has always attached great importance to providing high-quality facilities in the cities, and the Sujal scheme implementation in Puri is his dream come true.’
However, the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has called it an ‘election gimmick’. The BJP claims that 69 percent of households in the state still lack access to piped water after 21 years of Biju Janata Dal (BJD) rule.