“The state of Punjab has been marching ahead on all parameter of development under the vibrant leadership of Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh and we feel elated to declare the whole rural area of state ‘Open Defecation Free’.” It was disclosed by Mrs. Razia Sultana, Water Supply and Sanitation Minister, Punjab.Divulging the details in a press communiqué Mrs. Razia Sultana said that under flagship ‘Mission Tandarust Punjab’ Department of Water Supply and sanitation has been entrusted to supply safe water, reduce open defecation and regular monitoring of water quality in the rural areas of the state. She explained that while working on these targets, the Department of Water Supply and sanitation has launched a behavioural change campaign to sensitize people about ill effects of the open defecation and create demand for safe sanitation. She said that department is providing incentive of Rs. 15 thousand for construction of a toilet as compared to Rs. 12 thousand in other parts of the country for household who were forced to defecate in the open in absence of toilets. It was informed that the department has so far released Rs.713 crore on account of incentive money to beneficiaries. She said that Nigran committees have been formed in all the villages of the State who are carrying out morning nigrani to stop people from defecating in open. Beneficiaries have been encouraged through Information Education Communication campaign to construct bath cum toilets and use them. She said that more than 80% beneficiaries have constructed bath cum toilets by contributing Rs 5000 – 20000 per toilet from their own sources and usage levels of toilets are more than 99%.The Minister said that “Mission Swachh & Swasth Punjab” is already being implemented by the Department, which supplements “Mission Tandarust Punjab” for achieving set goals. She said that the prime focus of the mission is to achieve the targets for a clean and healthy state by providing safe water supply and eliminating Open Defecation in the villages of the State sustaining good personal hygiene practices and behaviour amongst the rural population of Punjab.
The Minister said that under Swachh & Swasth Punjab Mission the department has been able to get all the rural areas of State i.e. 13726 villages in 147 blocks of 22 districts declared as Open Defecation Free. Cross verification of ODF Status in these villages is under progress. Since, October, 2014, rural sanitation coverage status has increased from 75% to 100%. She said that four districts of the State Fatehgarh Sahib, Barnala, Ludhiana and SAS Nagar achieved 1st rank in Swachta Darpan and were honoured at New Delhi on Swachh Bharat Divas celebrated on 2nd October, 2017.
Mrs. Razia Sultana said that the 24x7 Metered Water Supply initiatives has successfully involved the community in planning, implementation and metering of water consumption for judicious use in rural areas of the State. She said that major thrust of the government is to enhance service levels of safe water supply to all households with minimum of 10 hours supply on daily basis. She said that operation and maintenance of water supply schemes are being handed over to Gram Panchayat Water Supply & Sanitation Committees (GPWSC) after successful completion of schemes. She said that till date 99.9% of rural population has been covered with potable drinking water. Further, 125 villages of State have been provided with 24x7 metered water supply on regular basis. She said that availability of 24x7water has resulted in greater level of satisfaction and reduction in wastage of water. Besides this, 2202 villages are getting water supply for more than 10 hours and 810 villages are getting water supply for 10 hours on daily basis. She said that Congress Government is making all efforts to strengthen rural water sector for improved water supply service delivery and it has envisaged that 100% rural households will be provided with water connections by the end of 2021.