Now, women can spend time weaving Arani silk sarees rather than fetching pots of water, says PM Modi

The PM was interacting with the panchayat president of Vellery village in Tiruvannamalai district, on the village’s having achieved 100% piped water supply, on the occasion on Gandhi Jayanti

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday told women in Vellery village in Tiruvannamalai district, that they could now spend more time weaving the famous Arani silk sarees, rather than fetching pots of water.

Each household in the village now has a piped drinking water connection that has been implemented under the Centrally sponsored Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM), a flagship welfare scheme of the government aimed at providing safe and clean drinking water to all rural households by 2024.

Mr. Modi was interacting through video conference with presidents of village panchayats that have achieved 100% piped safe and clean drinking water to all households. He spoke to five village heads in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Manipur on the initiative, to mark the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi on October 2.

At 11.37 a.m on Saturday, S. Sudha, president, Vellery village panchayat, Arani taluk, got to answer six questions from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He greeted her with the traditional ‘Vanakkam’. She responded to him in kind. “Earlier, your village did not have tap water supply. Now, your village has that facility. How do you feel?” Mr. Modi asked her. Wasting no time, Sudha said, “We spent a lot of time fetching a few pots of water before doing our other domestic chores. After getting piped water supply to our houses, we feel relieved and happy,” she said in Tamil, through a translator.

The Prime Minister was attentive in listening to her responses. The Prime Minister said that he was a frequent visitor to Tamil Nadu. “I heard a lot about Arani silks (sarees). Can you (Sudha) talk about it (Arani silks),” Mr Modi asked. All smiles, Ms. Sudha said that more than 20 weavers including women were still involved in weaving the famous Arani silk sarees at her village. They also exported Arani silk sarees to foreign countries, she said.

In a lighter vein, the Prime Minister told her that the village of weavers, especially women could now spend more time in weaving the famous Arani skills as each household in the village now has piped water supply. “We used to wait in a long queue to fetch a few pots of water. We also used to place empty water pots to fix our spots to get water. Now, all those woes have been ended by you, sir,” Sudha told him.

Mr. Modi also wanted to know from her what steps, as a village panchayat president, she had taken to ensure uninterrupted water supply to her residents. “Chennai faces a water scarcity, what steps have you taken to ensure water sustainability?" he asked her. She replied that construction of check dams, a rainwater harvesting system in every household in the village and desilting of waterbodies including ponds and tanks in her village were some of the measures taken by the village.

As the conversation with her came to an end, the Prime Minister thanked Sudha and her villagers for ensuring 100% piped water supply to the households, and said they had set an example for other villages to adopt this. “You [the village head] should ensure that the facilities to provide uninterrupted water supply to households are maintained properly,” said the Prime Minister.

Located around six km from Arani taluk in Tiruvannamalai, Vellery village is one of the 37 villages in Arani taluk in the district. The village has a total of 412 households with 100 per cent piped water supply connection under the JJM. B. Murugesh, Collector, Tiruvannamalai, and residents of Vellery village participated also participitated in the talk.

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