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Badal launches second World Bank-funded water, sanitation project to give state open-defecation free

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Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal on Wednesday launched the second World Bank-funded Rs.2,200-crore project aimed at improving water and sanitation services and creating open defecation-free environment in the state.

He sought further World Bank assistance for skill development, reviving rural economy and promoting tourism and culture. In his address on the occasion, Badal thanked the World Bank, especially country director Onno Ruhl, for getting the project sanctioned much before the closure of the ongoing project, costing Rs.750 crore, on June 30.

He expressed confidence that with the concerted efforts of the state, departments of water supply and sanitation and rural development and panchayats would set an example by completing this gigantic task within two years, much ahead of the deadline of 2019 fixed by the Indian government under ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ (Clean Indian Programme).

“I am delighted to learn that the total achievement under the first project was 125 percent which is unprecedented so far in any development project funded by the World Bank in the country,” the chief minister said. The new project aims to provide a toilet and water connection in all the households within next three years. Likewise, all the existing rural water supply schemes would be augmented to provide 70 litres per capita per day (lpcd) against the current consumption of 40 lpcd.

ParkashSinghBadal
Photo: Sanyam Bahga

Badal pointed out that enhancement of water supply scheme to 70 lpcd would make it technically feasible to provide water connections to all households as required.

“This, in turn, would lead to financial sustainability of rural water supply schemes and the villagers would have access to minimum 10-hour water supply.”

Badal said Punjab was already committed to provide clean and safe water to people, especially in rural areas, and earmarked Rs.300 crore to provide treated surface water to 121 villages of Moga and Barnala districts.

Speaking on the significance of skill development, the chief minister urged the World Bank’s country director to help Punjab in training the youth to be gainfully employed.

He also sought the World Bank support and cooperation for allowing the state to have an exclusive water supply and sanitation sub-project on design, build, operate terms for 110 waterlogged villages in Muktsar, Fazilka, Bathinda and Faridkot districts of the Malwa belt.

Badal also sought funding for ongoing tourism and cultural projects to showcase state’s glorious heritage and rich legacy across the globe.

A spokesperson for the government told IANS that World Bank country director Ruhl, who met Badal over dinner Tuesday, said he would again visit the state next month to have detailed discussions on skill development, reviving rural economy and promoting tourism and culture.

-(IANS)

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Concerned Over The Rise of Drug Usage In The State: Himachal Governor

A three-day horse trade-cum-exhibition was organised before the beginning of the Lavi Fair.

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There are countless mothers who have been constantly tormented by drug-dependent adolescent children. Pixabay

Himachal Pradesh Governor Acharya Devvrat on Sunday expressed concern over the rise in drug addiction, particularly among the youth in the state, and called for concerted efforts to tackle the menace.

“Effective steps have been taken by the government and police administration, but we all need to work together in this direction,” he said at the inauguration of the centuries-old Lavi Fair in Rampur town, which was once a centre of barter trade with Tibet.

He called upon the people to promote natural farming. The state government has made a provision of Rs 25 crore to promote natural or organic farming to produce chemical-free food.

The 400-year-old Lavi Fair has undergone a sea change with the rural folk’s changing lifestyles and aspirations, resulting in a greater sale of gadgets and automobiles than traditional items such as farm implements, livestock and dry fruits.

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‘The traders from across the border have stopped coming’ Pixabay

The fair dates back to the time when Raja Kehari Singh of Rampur Bushahr state signed a treaty to promote trade with Tibet.

Rampur, 120 kilometres from state capital Shimla, was once a major trade centre as it is located on the old silk route connecting Afghanistan, Tibet and Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir.

“People have stopped buying farm implements, horses and sheep. Now, they prefer to shop luxury goods like television sets and automobiles,” trader Ishwar Goyal told IANS.

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur will preside over the concluding session of the fair on November 14.

Another trader Deepak Negi said Rampur was a centre of trade before the 1962 India-China war.

The traders from Tibet used to bring raw wool, butter, herbs and leather products and bartered them for wheat, rice, farm implements and livestock.

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Rampur, 120 kilometres from state capital Shimla, was once a major trade centre as it is located on the old silk route connecting Afghanistan. Pixabay

“Now, the traders from across the border have stopped coming. Indian multinational companies come here to sell their products. The fair has largely lost its relevance,” he added.

A three-day horse trade-cum-exhibition was organised before the beginning of the Lavi Fair. The main attraction during the exhibition were the Chamurthi horses – an endangered species known as the ‘Ship Of the Cold Desert’. Being a surefooted animal, it is mainly used for transporting goods in the Himalayas.

Also Read: Quitting Junk Food May Cause You to Suffer Withdrawal Symptoms Similar to Drug Addition

The Chamurthi horse traces its origin to the Tibet region. In India, it’s bred in the villages of Himachal Pradesh bordering China.

The fair sees several folk artistes from Punjab and Himachal Pradesh perform. (IANS)