Punjab govt to provide water and sanitation in rural areas
The government of Punjab will grant water connections and toilets to every rural household in the next six years, with the World Bank approving a loan of Rs 1,540 crore for water and sanitation facilities in the state.
The World Bank recently sanctioned a Rs 1,540 crore loan for the ‘Punjab Rural Water and Sanitation Sector Improvement Project’ to help the state raise its water and sanitation services and also decrease open excretion in rural Punjab, an official release said here today.
Granting the state government Rs 2,200 crore, the project would include water supply for minimum 10 hours daily, a toilet for households that lack such the facility and sewerage systems in over 315 villages.
Over 6,25,000 households in the state still do not have toilets, it said.
The sanitation component would implement allowance to every household having no toilet, to construct a toilet. It would also provide education, information, and communication (IEC) to cause the behavioural change important to achieve Open Defecation Free status at the village level.
The project also includes safe supply of surface water to over 121 villages that were drinking water contaminated with uranium and other heavy metals that further lead to serious health problems like cancer. On an average, 29 per cent of water supply schemes in the state face water quality issues, the release said.
Despite the high coverage of water (95 per cent) and sanitation (71.0 per cent) in Punjab, the rural water and sanitation sector still continues to face major challenges.
This project is expected to directly benefit an estimated 8.47 million rural people in Punjab, including over four million female beneficiaries and 2.44 million beneficiaries belonging to the Scheduled Castes, the release said.