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Punjab to get safe drinking water: 1,538 Aab-e-Pak projects announced

Governor Punjab Chaudhry Mohammad Sarwar has guaranteed the provision of safe drinking water to the people of Punjab by announcing 1,538 projects.

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Addressing a reception held in honor of the provincial ministers and members of the assembly, Punjab governor announced 1,538 water projects of Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority at the cost of Rs5,500 million, saying that transparency would be ensured in such projects and no one would be allowed to give or receive commission.

The governor further stated that after two years the bureaucracy and Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority are finally on the same page for provision of safe drinking water to the people of remote areas. Filtration plants would be set up in all over the provincial constituencies, without any political discrimination and clean drinking water would be provided to the people, despite of their political affiliations, he added.

Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority is constituted under the Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority Act 2019 and is responsible for the provision of clean drinking water to the people of Punjab, in consultation with the relevant entities including the local governments. The main objective of the Punjab Aab-e-Pak project is to provide clean drinking water to more than about 70 million population in 36 districts of Punjab province mainly in rural, semi-urban and peri-urban areas.

During the reception, Chairman Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority, Dr Shakeel Ahmed, and Chief Executive, Syed Zahid Aziz, also gave a detailed briefing on the projects of Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority to the participants of reception.

Sarwar said that his party did not believe in temporary solutions and that is why they decided to solve the issue on a permanent basis by taking concrete steps. He said despite opposition’s criticism on the government’s policies, people are aware that Prime Minister Imran Khan has no personal agenda to gain.

Read More: Punjab govt allocates Rs24 bn for mega projects in Rawalpindi

According to reports, Sarwar hosted a reception in honour of the provincial ministers and MPAs, while Punjab’s Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Mazari, Information Adviser Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan, Mian Mahmood-ur-Rasheed, Noman Langarial, Hussain Bukhari, Hussain Jahanian Gardezi, Dr Akhtar Malik, Mian Khalid Mahmood, Fayyaz-ul-Hassan Chauhan, Ansar Majeed Niazi, Ajmal Cheema, Chaudhry Zaheer-ud-Din, Raja Rashid Hafeez, Khayal Ahmed Castro, Sardar Muhammad Asif Nikai and other provincial ministers and MPAs attended the reception.

Recently, the World Bank has also approved $440m to ensure access to water and sanitation services for more than six million people in rural areas of Punjab.

The ‘Punjab Rural Sustainable Water Supply and Sanitation Project’ will help upgrade water supply and sanitation infrastructure and services that ensure equitable and sustainable access to drinking water and safe wastewater management. The project prioritizes rural settlements where water contamination and poor sanitation practices are more prevalent, causing high levels of illness and child stunting, read the statement released by the World Bank.

The project design was informed by a 2018 flagship report, When Water Becomes a Hazard: A Diagnostic Report on The State of Water Supply, Sanitation and Poverty in Pakistan and Its Impact on Child Stunting, that examined linkages in Pakistan between water and sanitation services, and child stunting. This study also supported environmental sustainability and the need to provide information and support behavioral change in poor rural communities to reduce health risks.

It will cover 16 districts, with 50 per cent of districts drawn from south Punjab, and 25pc each from central and north Punjab, benefiting 2,000 villages and more than six million people in rural areas. It will also provide training of village councils and community caretakers, which will have complementary responsibilities for operations and maintenance, monitoring and evaluation and customer service.

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