Every rural household in Punjab will have a water connection and a toilet with the state government all set to launch its Rs.2,200 crore (2.2 bn) project for the purpose. The project is expected to be completed in six years.

 

The World Bank has approved its contribution of Rs.1,540 crore for the project while the Punjab government would give Rs.660 crore, a state government spokesman said here on Thursday.

 

The project aims to make Punjab open defecation free.

 

The spokesman said that with the implementation of the project, Punjab will become the first state of the country to provide a water connection and a toilet for every rural household in the coming six years.

 

"The project would include a minimum of 10 hours of water supply daily, a toilet for all those household without a toilet, sewerage systems in over 315 villages and supply safe water from surface water to over 121 villages that were currently drinking water contaminated with uranium and other heavy metals thereby leading to serious illnesses like cancer," he said.

 

The project is expected to directly benefit an estimated 8.47 million rural people in Punjab, including over four million female beneficiaries and 2.44 million beneficiaries belonging to the scheduled castes.

 

"Over 625,000 households in the state still lack toilets. The sanitation component would provide a subsidy to every toilet-less household to construct one," he said.

 

Punjab has over 12,000 villages.