Lahore (NUT DESK) The Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) has carried out a project “Open defecation-free Punjab” (ODF) successfully in the province to create a healthy environment. The PHED official sources told media on Friday that the first phase of the project had been completed in 10 districts of the province, adding that 41,000 toilets had been constructed by mutual contribution of the government and community.
He said that during the first phase, two million people were imparted awareness through a campaign via mass media, print media, social media, fixing messages on key points of villages. He said that the ODF evaluation of the villages was being carried out by the district ODF evaluation committees in 802 villages in phase-1 nowadays. He said that ODF phase-II would be started during April 2021 in the districts where planning for the project had been under progress. He said that the government had sanctioned Rs 125 million per year budget for the project. Under the three-year programme, the Punjab government, in collaboration with UNICEF, would be constructing around two hundred thousand toilets for 1.3 million population in around 1,775 high-risk villages across the province.
In Punjab, 13 per cent of the population still practises 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. Cost of 70,000 toilets for the poorest factions of society would be managed by the department, in collaboration with UNICEF. The government has chosen districts on the basis of Multiple Indicators Cluster Survey 2018, which includes Rajanpur, Dera Ghazi Khan, Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan, Lodhran, Bhakkar, Khushab, Chiniot and Jhang. These districts have open defecation ratio between 20% to 38%. Under the programme, 1,775 most vulnerable villages are being covered.The ODF project was inaugurated by Chief Minister Punjab Sardar Usman Buzdar on March 6, 2020 aiming to end the practice from the province.