LAHORE: The Punjab Saaf Pani Company (PSPC) has started the process to expand its network of clean drinking water to another 8,197 villages of the province, The Express Tribune has learnt.
According to official documents, the company planned to install 11,161 new water filtration plants in 37 tehsils of the province. Earlier, the company had already put up 116 plants in five tehsils, including Lodhran, Hasilpur, Khanpur, Dunyapur and Minchinabad of the Bahawalpur Division.
The PSPC spokesman said the company intends to start working on the installation by December. He added the new schemes would benefit around 24 million people of semi-urban and rural Punjab.
The company will establish 326 facilitation centres, where the plants will be installed, in Kasur, 309 in Pattoki, 123 in Kot Radha Kishan, 550 in Depalpur, 312 in Chunian, 333 in Okara, 222 in Renala Khurd, 321 in Chichawatni, 390 in Sahiwal, 407 in Jaranwala, 297 in Tandlianwala, 116 in Chak Jhumra, 339 in Faisalabad Sadar, 197 in Samundri, 157 in Alipur, 146 in Jatoi, 614 in Muzafarghar, 649 in Rahim Yar Khan, 519 in Sadiqabad, 371 in Khanpur, 551 in Liaqatpur, 355 in Kot Addu, 242 in Taunsa, 671 in tribal areas of Dera Ghazi Khan, 69 in tribal areas of Rajanpur, 344 in Dera Ghazi Khan, 130 in Rajanpur, 237 in Jampur, 60 in Rojhan, 134 in Dunyapur, 239 in Karor Pacca, 197 in Lodhran, 88 in Hasilpur, 165 inKhairpur, 340 in Bahawalpur, 483 in Ahmadpur East and 158 in Yazman.
According to the PSPC spokesman, the company has already completed two rounds of prequalification and bidding. It also invited proposals for the third round in which vendors would be enlisted for Jaranwala, Chak Jhumra, Faisalabad Saddar and Sumundri tehsils.
The Punjab government has stated it would roll out the Khadim-e-Punjab Saaf Pani Programme in 37 tehsils of Southern Punjab. In February 2017, Punjab Chief Minister Shehbaz Sharif, while chairing a high-level meeting, made this announcement.
As per official documents, groundwater is the main source of drinking water in Punjab. Overall, around 30% of groundwater can be classified as sweet, 30% as mixed and the rest is brackish. Pockets of various contaminants have also been identified across the province.
The Punjab government has allocated Rs24.5 billion for water schemes in the provincial budget for 2017-18, including Khadim-Punjab Saaf Pani Programme. Of the total funds, 62% have been earmarked for safe drinking water schemes in Sothern Punjab and the rest are for Northern Punjab.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2017.