The Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) has constructed 41,000 toilets in 10 districts under the project ‘Open defecation-free Punjab’ (ODF).
The PHED officials told APP on Friday that the first phase of the project had been completed in 10 districts of the province. He said that during the first phase, two million people were imparted awareness through a campaign via social media and notice boards on key points of villages. He said that, currently, the ODF evaluation of the villages was being carried out by the district ODF evaluation committees in 802 villages in phase 1. He further said that ODF phase 2 would be started during April 2021 in the districts where planning for the project had been under progress.
He added that the government had earmarked Rs125 million per year budget for the project. Under the three-year programme, Punjab government, in collaboration with the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF), would be constructing around 200,000 toilets for 1.3 million residents in around 1,775 high-risk villages across the province, as part of efforts to curb the unhealthy human practice. Reportedly, in Punjab, 13 per cent of the population still practices open defecation. A total of 125,000 household toilets would be constructed on self-help basis, and the government would educate people to adopt sanitation practices.
The total cost of 70,000 toilets for the poorest factions of society would be managed by the department, in collaboration with UNICEF. The government had chosen districts on the basis of Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey 2018. These districts had open defecation ratio between 20% to 38% Under the programme, 1,775 most vulnerable villages were being covered. The ODF project was inaugurated by Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar on March 6, 2020 aiming to end the practice from the province. A
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