CHANDIGARH, JANUARY 9 – In an endeavour to manage and regulate the water resources efficaciously, besides ensuring its judicious, equitable and sustainable utilisation, the Punjab Cabinet on Thursday paved the way for setting up a Water Regulation and Development Authority by approving enactment of ‘The Punjab Water Resources (Management and Regulation) Ordinance 2019.
The Ordinance, which was approved by the Council of Ministers earlier at its meeting on December 4, 2019, is now all set for legislation as ‘The Punjab Water Resources (Management and Regulation) Bill, 2020’.
The Bill proposes to set up a Punjab Water Regulation and Development Authority, consisting of a Chairman and two other members to be appointed by the Government. The Authority will be responsible for management and conversion of water resources of the state in a judicious, equitable and sustainable manner, and will be empowered to take all such measures as it deems necessary or expedient for this purpose.
The authority will also be empowered to issue directions and guidelines for the conservation and management of the water resources, besides issuing tariff orders specifying the charges to be imposed by entities supplying water for drinking domestic, commercial or industrial use.
The Bill also proposes the constitution of an Advisory Committee on Water Resources, to be notified by the Government. It will consist of experts and ex-officio members from various government departments, to advise the authority. The authority may also engage experts on its own.
The authority shall have, and maintain, a separate fund, to be called the Punjab Water Regulation and Development Authority Fund, in which the grants/loans would be credited by the Punjab Government. The Bill also proposes to empower the Government to issue to the Authority general or specific directions in writing, in the matters of policy involving public interest, and the Authority shall be bound to follow and act upon such directions. Tariff fixation would be done by the Authority as per the policy prescribed by the Government.
The move is prompted by the fact that due to over exploitation of ground water for agriculture and other requirements, the ground water table is declining very rapidly. Moreover, due to pollution caused by industrialisation and urbanization, there is significant deterioration in the quality of water. All this has threatened access to water for livelihoods and to safe drinking water as well.
Meanwhile, the Cabinet also approved the Administrative Report of Soil and Water Conservation Department for the financial year 2017-18.
Health & Family Welfare Rules
In another decision, the Cabinet also gave approval to amend Punjab Health & Family Welfare Technical (Group-C) Service Rules, 2016 for providing 1% promotional quota in direct appointment of Multipurpose Health Worker (Male) to those class-4 employees who have completed diploma in Multipurpose Health Worker.