Face-off between Centre and West Bengal intensified on Tuesday as TMC government in the state boycotted Central government’s joint meeting on water crisis, held in New Delhi. Newly-appointed Jal Shakti minister Gajendra Singh Sekhwat had called the meeting of all state ministers to discuss prevailing water crisis in India.
All states, barring West Bengal, sent their representatives to discuss the water crisis, which has become a pressing issue in several states across the country due to prevailing heat wave and delayed monsoon.
CM Mamata Banerjee, who is miffed with PM Narendra Modi and his party BJP over alleged resurgence of religious politics in West Bengal, has also announced that she will skip the NITI Aayog meeting on June 15.
Talking about the meeting, Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat told media that the Centre has set a target of providing clean drinking water to all by 2024. He said the government is formulating a plan to provide clean drinking water to nearly 14 crore households.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his poll campaign, had promised to integrate all ministries that look after water-related issues into one ministry. The BJP had also promised to provide clean drinking water to all households in the country.
Gajendra Singh Shekhawat said in states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha, the coverage of clean drinking water is less than five per cent.
The minister said that going forward, the Jal Shakti ministry will also lay an emphasis on water conservation, citing the widening gap between water supply and demand.