Chandigarh September 23:Punjab was adjudged as the Best State in the sphere of Water and Sanitation in the country at the IBN7 Diamond States Awards ceremony held at New Delhi yesterday evening. The Award was presented by former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam to Punjab’s Information & Public Relations and Water Supply & Sanitation Minister Bikram Singh Majithia.
The Awards were given as recognition of the human and social development and evaluation of the standards of governance in the States of India. Access to drinking water and toilet facilities are the parameters considered by the IBN Network while evaluating the performance of different States of the country in the category of Water and Sanitation.
Water Supply & Sanitation Minister Bikram Singh Majithia congratulated Punjab Chief Minister Parkash Singh Badal and the people of State on the happy occasion and termed the achievement as "a recognition of the work being done by the SAD-BJP Government in Punjab". He stated that the State Government was fully committed to improving the access of public to potable drinking water supply and quality sanitation facilities, especially in rural areas and urban slums. He further stated that the State had taken some bold initiatives to provide quality drinking water using Reverse Osmosis technology in collaboration with Naandi Foundation, an NGO in Muktsar district which was now being extended to cover other endemic problematic villages of Malwa area. Work on the Rs. 1250 crore World Bank aided Water Supply & Sanitation project had also been expedited, he added.
The Minister stated that the State’s infrastructural shortcomings were being addressed on priority with special focus on health and education to improve its manpower resource. On the other hand, a massive power generation programme had been launched to transform Punjab from a power-deficit to a power-surplus state by 2011-12. "These efforts would be further intensified in the years to come ushering in an unprecedented era of peace and prosperity", said Majithia.
Commenting on the feat, Member Parliament and President of Shiromani Akali Dal, Mr Sukhbir Singh Badal said that "this award was confirmation of will of SAD-BJP Government to provide them basic necessities of life like water and make Punjab power surplus State".
The selection process of this award was a credible multi-pronged approach involving Independent Validation partner, the International consultancy Price Waterhouse Coopers, that analyzed official sources of information as well as did extensive research based on parameters set up by Network18 Editorial Board, the Outlook Editorial Board and Jury consisting of eminent citizens of India.
DS Jaspal, Principal Secretary Information & Public Relations was also present on the occasion.