Virsa Singh Valtoha, Chief Parliamentary Secretary, Water Supply and Sanitation Department, Punjab today distributed cash awards worth Rs.21.25 lacs to 29 Gram Panchayats Water and Sanitation Committees (GPWSCs) for doing excellent work in providing safe drinking water to their villages in a state level function held here.Addressing the gathering, Mr. Valtoha said that the award function to honour such GPWSCs is held on annual basis and it is basically meant to motivate Panchayats to efficiently operate and maintain water supply schemes of their villages and always keep them financially and technically sustainable. He said that state level first prize of Rs.2 lacs was given to GPWSC Karirwali, district Faridkot, second prize of Rs.1.5 lacs to Pucca Khurd, district Bathinda and third prize of Rs.1 lacs bestowed to GPWSC of Dhandowal, district Jalandhar. He further said that the district level first prize worth Rs.75,000 was conferred to the villages Chahal Khurd (SBS Nagar), Majara (Ludhiana), Mallah (Faridkot), Katli (Ropar), Kularan (Patiala), Shabudeen (Hoshiarpur), Harrar Khurd (Amritsar), Mehma Sawai (Bathinda), Bhakarian (Kapurthala), Daun Majra (SAS Nagar), Burj Dhilwan (Mansa), Noorpur Hakima (Moga), Chhichrewal (Tarn Taran), Nussi (Jalandhar) and Munsiwala (Sangrur). Similarly, district level second prize worth Rs.50,000 was awarded to the villages Chak Mai Dass (SBS Nagar), Morouli (Ropar), Rampur Kalan (Patiala), Shabudin (Hoshiarpur), Khanpur Thaira (Hoshiarpur), Kahanpur (Fatehgarh Sahib), Dyalpur (Kapurthala), Khunni Majra (SAS Nagar), Jeon (Mansa), Shekha Khurd (Moga), Pandori Rehmana (Tarn Taran) and Jaitewali (Jalandhar). He further said that the prize money would be doubled from next year.
CPS said that Water Supply & Sanitation Department with the assistance of World Bank has implemented ‘Punjab Rural Water Supply & Sanitation Project’ Schemes by adopting decentralized approach and funds are transferred to GPWSCs for implementing water supply schemes. He said that as per project concepts, after the completion of schemes, GPWSCs themselves operate and maintain their water supply schemes and all the expenses incurred towards it are met from the water charges collected from the users by GPWSCs. Mr. Valtoha said that water supply schemes have been implemented in 1208 villages upto 31st January 2014. GPWSCs are operating and maintaining water supply facilities in these 1208 villages. Out of these 773 GPWSCs have already made the O&M of their schemes self sustainable and do not require any financial support from the Government.
He said that any Panchayat in the State can complete for obtaining award if it fulfills the basic parameter of successful operation and maintenance of their scheme for the last more than one year on sustainable basis. The selection of award winning Gram Panchayats /GPWSCs is done by adopting transparent selection criteria. He mentioned that after assessing the successful implementation of ongoing World Bank assisted PRWSS project, Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, Government of India has recommended to Ministry of Finance, Government of India second PRWSS project costing Rs. 2200 crore for seeking financial assistance from World Bank. The Second Project besides upgrading the water supply service level in the villages also focuses on the implementation of sewerage schemes in 1000 villages of the State.In key note address, Financial Commissioner, Development cum Principal Secretary Water Supply & Sanitation Punjab Mr. Suresh Kumar informed that department has implemented water supply schemes in 6204 villages and 1555 small habitations around these villages. Now only 165 villages and 372 small habitations remains to be covered with water supply schemes and targeted for their coverage has been fixed as 30.06.2014. Mr. A.K. Soni, Chief Engineer cum Program Director, Mr. N.K. Dhir, Superintending Engineer cum Senior Programme, State level first prize winner Sarpanch Mr. Harcharan Singh Bath, Chairman, GPWSC and second prize winner Mr. Jasbir Singh, Sarpanch & Chairman, GPWSC also spoke on the occasion.Earlier, Nukkad Natak has also been played in which people sensitized about the proper utilization of drinking water and paying the bills in time.