The entire rural area of Punjab has been declared open defecation free (ODF), Water Supply and Sanitation Minister Razia Sultana said here.
She said that under 'Swachh and Swasth Punjab Mission' her department has been able to get all the rural areas of the state --13,726 villages in 147 blocks of 22 districts -- declared open defecation free.
"Cross verification of ODF status in these villages is under progress," she said, according to an official release.
Sultana said under the flagship Tandarust Punjab mission, the department of Water Supply and sanitation has been entrusted to supply safe water, reduce open defecation and regularly monitor water quality in the rural areas of the state.
She explained that while working on these targets, the department has launched a behavioural change campaign to sensitise people about ill effects of the open defecation and create demand for safe sanitation.
Sultana said the department is providing incentive of Rs 15,000 for the construction of a toilet.
She said that 'Nigran' committees have been formed in all the villages of the state which are carrying out morning vigil to stop people from defecating in open.
"Since, October, 2014, rural sanitation coverage status has increased from 75 per cent to 100 per cent," she informed.
The minister said that till date 99.9 per cent of rural population has been covered with potable drinking water.
The Congress government in the state is making all efforts to strengthen rural water sector for improved water supply service delivery and it has envisaged that 100 per cent rural households will be provided with water connections by the end of 2021, she added.