Water, sanitation given due attention in budget

Published: June 3, 2017
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PHOTO: EXPRESS

PHOTO: EXPRESS

LAHORE: The Punjab government has earmarked Rs57.477 billion to improve the water supply and sanitation infrastructure in the province during FY2017-18.

Budget documents show Rs9.187 billion has been allocated for ongoing development schemes, including Rs278 million for Punjab, Rs5.174 billion for rural sewerage drainage schemes, Rs1.384 billion for rural water supply schemes, Rs1.602 billion for urban sewerage drainage schemes and Rs747 million for urban water supply schemes.

Documents show the government has allocated Rs23.789 billion for new development schemes, including Rs17.38 billion for the local development programme, Rs5.46 billion for the Prime Minister’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) programme, Rs483 million for Punjab, Rs315 million for rural sewerage drainage schemes, Rs51.14 million for rural water supply schemes, Rs85 million for urban sewerage drainage schemes and Rs10 million for urban water supply schemes. The government has also allocated Rs24.5 billion under the head of other development programmes. The amount is earmarked for Khadim Punjab Saaf Pani Program, an initiative of the Punjab CM for clean drinking water.

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Budget documents indicate the government has planned to spend Rs9.5 billion to revive 781 dysfunctional rural water supply schemes. It has also allocated Rs1 billion for WASH programme under the stunting reduction programme in 11 districts of Multan, Bahawalpur, and Dera Ghazi Khan.

It will spend Rs1.01 billion on the Multi-Sectoral Nutrition Strategy for WASH, including water supply, sanitation, hygiene, waste water treatment, disposal of solid waste in nine villages of brackish barani districts or one from each division.

Documents highlight the government has identified around 2,908 water supply and sanitation schemes, including 123 water supply schemes, 312 sanitation schemes, three Punjab-based projects, 241 local development programme ventures and 739 PM’s SGDs programme initiatives. It targeted completing these before the 2018 General Elections.

The government has also planned to roll out the PATS programme to promote the use of safe and hygienic latrines among men, women and children.

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Budget documents state Punjab has initiated a comprehensive project for clean drinking water, called the Punjab Saaf Pani Programme, to improve the health of the entire population. To implement this initiative, the government has already established the Punjab Saaf Pani Company with the special objective of conceiving, planning, designing, executing and managing projects for new water supply schemes.

Budget documents show out of a total Rs24.5 billion was allocated under other development programmes. Of the total, 62% of funds were earmarked for safe drinking water schemes in Sothern Punjab and the rest is for Northern Punjab.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 3rd, 2017.

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