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Punjab Goes Big On Swachhta, Declares Four Of Its District – Amritsar, Bhatinda, Ferozepur, Pathankot Open Defecation Free

Rural Punjab achieves a milestone, declares four of its district open defecation free. The sanitation coverage in rural Punjab has moved up from 75% in 2014 to nearly 100% in 2018, but, till verification is completed in all the districts, it cannot be officially declared ODF

Punjab Goes Big On Swachhta, Declares Four Of Its District – Amritsar, Bhatinda, Ferozepur, Pathankot Open Defecation Free

New Delhi: Punjab takes a giant leap towards Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, declares four of its district – Amritsar, Bathinda, Ferozepur, Pathankot free from open defecation. The official announcements were made Deputy Commissioner Kamaldeep Singh Sangha who declared Amritsar open defecation free and Deputy Commissioner Diprava Lakra who declared Bathinda free from open defecation. The Swachh Bharat official account in a series of tweets congratulated Punjab and said,

Another milestone achieved by #SwachhBharatMission as Amritsar district in Punjab becomes #OpenDefecationFree.

Yet another achievement unlocked by #SwachhBharatMission. Bathinda district in Punjab has now been declared #OpenDefecationFree.

Adding another feather in the cap for #SwachhBharatMission, Ferozepur district in Punjab is now #OpenDefecationFree.

The momentum of #SwachhBharatMission is going steady and strong as Pathankot district in Punjab in now #OpenDefecationFree.

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Kamaldeep Singh speaking to NDTV said, “It is a big step towards swachh Punjab, the district has been made open defecation free, now in next 15 days we will be carrying an ODF verification programme. The verification will be done in three parts, one at Panchayat level, second at the government level and third verification will be a high-level independent verification that will be done by eminent personalities.”

Talking about the numbers, Mr Sangha added, “Currently, more than 23,000 toilets have been made operational in the last one year. We have made individual household toilets, shared toilets and have made sure people in different areas have access to a toilet so that instances of open defecation are reduced to zero. But, we are continuing our work of constructing toilets every day, as our ultimate aim is to give a toilet to every individual if they own a house and have electricity proof.”

Mr Sangha also thanked Bharti Foundation for constructing toilets in rural areas of Amritsar. Last year, the Punjab government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Bharti Foundation, to jointly construct over 50,000 toilets for rural households in Amritsar district.
On the other hand, Bathinda Deputy Commissioner Diprava Lakra congratulated the district residents of Bathinda for successfully achieving the ODF target. He said, 303 villages in the district have been declared open defecation free.

Last year, districts like Amritsar, Ferozepur, and Pathankot were lagging behind in their ODF target. Since then, all the three districts have worked hard to achieve the 100% swachhta target. Amritsar, last year had sanitation coverage of 55.34%, while Ferozepur had the sanitation coverage of 65.87% and Pathankot had the sanitation coverage of mere 40.41%.

In rural Punjab, more than 2.5 lakh toilets have been constructed and the sanitation coverage has moved up from 75% in 2014 to nearly 100% mark in 2018. But, till the time ODF verification is not completed in all the  22 districts, Rural Punjab cannot be officially declared free from open defecation.

Last year, in Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh government’s maiden budget session in June, Finance Minister Manpreet Singh Badal proposed an additional Rs. 300 crore under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (Gramin) for 2017-18 to make the remaining 11 districts of state open defecation free.

Captain Amarinder Singh has also promised that the government will focus on solid and liquid waste management across the rural regions of Punjab after the state fulfills its ODF target.

Also Read: Bathinda’s Municipal Body Tap School Students To Improve City’s Sanitation Coverage

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