Punjab approves Malerkotla as 23rd district; allows creation of SPV to operate multi-village surface water supply scheme

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Visual of Punjab Chief Minister chairing the meeting (Photo/ANI)
Visual of Punjab Chief Minister chairing the meeting (Photo/ANI)

Chandigarh (Punjab) [India], June 2 (ANI): Punjab government on Wednesday gave a nod for the formation of Malerkotla as the 23rd district of the State and approved Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for carrying out operations and maintenance of large multi-village surface water supply scheme.

In a tweet, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh said, "Our Cabinet today approved the formation of Malerkotla as 23rd District with 3 sub-divisions and development blocks, i.e. Malerkotla, Ahmedgarh and Amargarh. Also approved Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for Operations and Maintenance of large multi-village surface water supply scheme."

To ensure supply of potable water on a long term sustainable basis in rural areas of water quality affected districts, the Punjab Cabinet today gave approval for the creation of Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for operations and maintenance of large multi-village surface water supply schemes across the state.

This first-of-its-kind in India SPV will be a utility company 'Punjab Rural Water (Utility) Company' under the water supply and sanitation department, as per an official statement.

Chaired by Punjab Chief Minister, the Cabinet, at a virtual meeting, also accorded approval to open an account in the name of the SPV, with seed money of Rs 25 crore allocated from the World Bank funds (64 percent) and State Budget (36 percent), to support its functioning in the initial five years of operations. The allocation will help meet the shortfall in revenue collection, if any, to fulfill the contractual obligations of the SPV and its administrative expenses.

The Cabinet also authorised the Chief Minister, as Chairperson of the State Water Supply and Sanitation Mission, to approve, on behalf of the Council of Ministers, any amendments in the structure, role and responsibilities, funding pattern etc. which may be required in the future.

The Water Supply and Sanitation department is currently in the process of executing five new multi-village surface water supply projects covering 612 villages of Amritsar, Tarn Taran and Gurdaspur districts, and another project covering 408 villages in the fluoride affected blocks of districts Patiala and Fatehgarh Sahib. These projects are under construction.

Another project, covering 39 villages of Rupnagar district (Nurpurbedi block) affected by Iron/Arsenic, was commissioned in 2019. Besides, a project in Moga district, based on Design, Build Operate and Transfer (DBOT) model, was completed by M/s L&T Limited. in January 2021 with a total expenditure of Rs. 218.56 crore, benefitting 85 villages and creating a positive impact on the lives of 3.64 lakh people. (ANI)

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