Under the World Bank project, 100 villages in Sangrur and 50 in Barnala district are supposed to be made 'open defecation-free' by October 2 and provided with clean drinking water. The project plan outlay for these villages is estimated at Rs 8.18 crore for installation of 1,137 house hold toilets in Sangrur villages and 4,318 in Barnala villages.
On the successful completion of the first phase of the rural water supply and sanitation project, the World Bank had recently sanctioned the second project worth Rs 2,200 crore for the state. The project is being executed by the Punjab water supply and sanitation department.
The district programme director-cum-superintending engineer, water supply and sanitation, Sangrur and Barnala circle, DK Bansal told the Hindustan Times here, on Tuesday, that the key component of the project is active involvement of the villagers and village panchayats. Efforts are on to execute most of the works in the next three months, preferably by October 2.
Bansal said 'social coordinators' have been appointed at the district and block levels to oversee and monitor training and trainers. Special committees have also been constituted for day-to-day monitoring of the execution of the scheme on time.
Bansal has also created a group on WhatsApp to monitor the day-to-day functioning of the officials by name of 'Sangrur spl'. Bansal said all the districts in Punjab have been divided in 11 phases for the implementation of the World Bank project and Sangrur and Barnala are under one phase.
To make individual households accountable, they will bear part of the installation charges for toilets in their houses and later pay moderate user charges, as well. "A total of 66 villages have been identified for 100% water supply connections. They are 20 in Sangrur division, 26 in Malerkotla division and 20 in Barnala division. Water supply would be fully metered," said Bansal.
As part of the preparations, meetings at village, block and district levels have been scheduled to be held and an awareness campaign to involve sarpanches, panches and villagers would also be organised.
In reply to a question, Bansal said the rate of each toilet unit has been worked out at Rs 15,000. It is to be paid by the World Bank. The project also involves mini-sewerage systems as well. The 'strata chart and assembly' depicts diagram of a 'borehole' design that has been approved. One such functional toilet is at Burga village of Dhuri block here.
The sanitation programme is part of the country-wide 'Swacch Bharat' mission aimed at clean environment and sound eco-system. The three main components of the Rs 2,200-crore projects include: Improved access to water supply through household connections, household sanitation and operational improvements for improved water supply.
Punjab has 33.15 lakh individual rural households out of which 70% have toilets and sanitation facilities but in nearly 26% villages open defecation persists. The project is to be completed in five to six years.
Chief technical coordinator, department of water supply and sanitation, SR Aggarwal, said that rural Punjab lacks 'quality' drinking water. In south-west districts, the sub-soil water has been found to contain chemical and radioactive elements harmful to human health. Laboratory tests have confirmed presence of arsenic, fluoride, uranium and iron. "The proposal comprises a string of laboratories to check quality of water where even bacteriological tests would be conducted," he added.