Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh has directed the Water Supply and Sanitation Department to ensure clean drinking water and toilets in all Government Schools and Anganwadis in the state by November 30 to protect the health of children, especially in the present Covid situation.Expressing concern over the health problems triggered among children due to lack of potable water and adequate water for sanitation purposes, the Chief Minister has ordered a massive campaign for this purpose under the Mission Tandarust Punjab and Swachh and Swasth Punjab programs of the Government. The campaign will be undertaken with the active participation of School Management Committees, Panchayats and Local Body representatives.The Chief Minister’s directives were communicated to the Departments of School Education, Social Security, Women & Child Development, Finance, Local Government, Rural Development and Water Supply and Sanitation by Chief Secretary Vini Mahajan on Thursday evening.Chairing a meeting, Vini asked the Departments of Local Government and Water Supply & Sanitation to take immediate steps to ensure piped drinking water supply and toilets in all government schools and anganwadis, as per the requirements projected by the respective departments.
On 100% coverage of schools and Anganwadi centres, both in terms of potable water provision as well as toilets and water for sanitation, Vini said the respective panchayats/ local body shall issue a self- declaration to that effect. It was also emphasized that during the campaign period, all concerned shall be sensitized to adhere to various COVID 19 protocols and advisories.Vini said the campaign shall endeavour to support children with fully integrated life skills education, focusing on key hygiene behaviour – overall water security and safety, safe handling and storage of drinking water, hand washing with soap, personal and community hygiene. Principal Secretary Social Security Women and Child Development Raji P. Shrivastava and the Secretary School Education Krishan Kumar informed the meeting that there are 27302 Anganwadi centres and 19146 government schools in the State which shall be targeted during the campaign for ensuring provision of clean drinking water, access to toilets and water for toilets. Principal Secretary Water Supply and Sanitation Jaspreet Talwar said that Rs. 38.76 Crores had been provided to the Department of School Education for construction of the remaining 7152 toilet seats in schools (to cover the shortage of toilets) and provision of water for sanitation in 467 schools. She further said that Rs 4.65 crores was being released to the Department of Social Security, Women & Child Development for construction of child-friendly toilet seats and for providing water for sanitation, along with painting of educational messages on sanitation in 1330 Anganwadis.