Punjab to provide safe drinking water in 471 villages

February 18th, 2009 - 8:21 pm ICT by IANS  

Chandigarh, Feb 18 (IANS) Enthused with the response of Reverse Osmosis (RO) drinking water plants that were set up in the Gidderbaha area of Punjab a year ago, the state government is planning to expand the project to other districts of the state.
The state government has identified 471 more villages in the districts of Mansa, Fridkot, Muktsar and Bathinda in the Malwa belt in south-west Punjab where availability of safe drinking water is a problem. It plans to introduce the RO system there also.

“It has been a very successful project and I consider it my life’s biggest achievement so far. In the next budget, there will be a good allocation of money to implement this project in other areas of Punjab,” Punjab finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal told reporters here Wednesday.

“The pilot project was started nearly one year back in Gidderbaha area. We have decided to expand this project in phases to various districts of Punjab and gradually provide our expertise even in the neighbouring state of Haryana,” said Badal, a nephew of Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal.

He said the RO plants were first introduced in 57 villages of Gidderbaha and covered nearly 400,000 people.

“We have installed RO systems in these villages. This venture has also generated employment for unemployed youth of the area. The cost of these RO plants vary from Rs.800,000 to Rs.1,000,000 depending on size,” he said. Badal is the Akali Dal legislator from Gidderbaha assembly seat.

This cost has been collectively incurred by the Government of Punjab, Naandi foundation (a non-government organisation) and Tata group.

“The cost of this purified water comes out to be just 10 paisa per litre and on average Rs.60 per month for a family of six members. Earlier, people of this area were suffering from diseases related to joints, teeth, liver and stomach and spent huge sums on medical bills. Now the positive results are before everyone,” Badal said.

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