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Badal WB Team BadChandigarh, September 19, 2014 (Yes Punjab News)

The 16th World Bank mission today rated the achievements under Rs. 1280 crore Punjab Rural Water Supply and Sanitation (PRWSS) project Phase-I as the best in the country as the project has not only exceeded the implementation targets under water supply component by 127%, but was also providing water connections to each household in the village and running about 50 schemes on 24x7 basis.


These observations were made by the World Bank team led by its Task Team Leader Mr. S. Poddipireddy during a wrap up meeting with the Punjab Chief Minister Mr. Parkash Singh Badal to apprise him about the progress and achievements made under the ongoing World Bank Aided PRWSS Project here at CMR on Thursday evening.  


Mr. Poddipireddy informed the Chief Minister that Water meters have been installed in 196 villages where water tariff was being charged on volumetric basis. More than 961 villages implemented under the project have already achieved 100% connectivity and each household in these villages was drawing high quality water from its own tap in the house. Gram Panchayat Water and Sanitation Committees (GPWSCs) of more than 50% (2083) villages implemented under the project were operating and maintaining their schemes on sustainable basis without any financial assistance from the Government and have even generated sufficient funds in their Operation & Maintenance (O&M) accounts varying from Rs. one lac to 10 lac, which was the unique achievement of the project. He envisioned Punjab to be a role model state for others to replicate this project in the country.


The team task leader also apprised Mr. Badal that World Bank has already accorded in principle approval to Rs. 2200 crore Phase-II of PRWSS project on the recommendations of Union Ministries of Finance and Water Supply & Sanitation for providing the facility of sewerage system and potable drinking water besides setting up of Capacity Building Project Management and Training Institute in the state. 


While highly appreciating the performance of Phase-I of the project, Financial Expert from the World Bank Mr. Tanuj Mathur remarked that initially it was apprehended that since the project was to be implemented by adopting decentralized mode, the GPWSCs may not be able to manage the funds properly for the implementation of water supply schemes, but the regular auditing of financial accounts of GPWSC by independent auditors have not revealed any discrepancy. This was mainly due to excellent management of the accounts by GPWSCs with the assistance of department. Mrs. Vandana Mehra,Information, Education and Communication (IEC) Specialist from World Bank conveyed that woman folk in the villages also expressed extreme happiness and satisfaction about the assured availability of water as a result of this project.


Mr. Poddipireddy said that the World Bank mission was fully satisfied with the performance of project and the enormous support and cooperation rendered by the officers of the state government to ensure its implementation within stipulated time schedule. He also thanked the Chief Minister for his overall supervision, guidance and regular monitoring of the project activities without which the outcome achieved under the project would have not been possible. He said that it was purely an imitative CM to motivate the village panchaytas and the local residents of the village during his visits to the different parts of the rural areas across the state for making mandatory contribution for the scheme besides sensitizing them about the significance of good quality water to stay healthy and fit.  He also told Chief Minister that at present the work on 44 water supply, 57 sewerage schemes and 43 water supply augmentation schemes was in full swing and would be completed by December, 2014.  


Prominent amongst who were present in the meeting Water Supply & Sanitation Minister Mr. Surjit Singh Rakhra, FCD-cum-Principal Secretary Water Supply & Sanitation Mr. Suresh Kumar, Special Principal Secretary to CM Mr. Gaggandip Singh Brar,  Mr. A.K. Soni CE-cum-Program Director and Mr. S.R. Aggarwal Chief Technical Coordinator.


The World Bank team was led by Mr. S. Poddipireddy, Task Team Leader besides other members including Co-Team Leader Ms. Partibha Mistry, Mr. Tanuj Mathur, Financial Specialist from World Bank and Mr. Manish Kumar, Ms. Vandana Mehra and Ms. Laura Inha from WSP.