Capt Amarinder to be Chairman of Mission, to be implemented by multiple departments
Going a step ahead of the Central Government’s `Fit India’ movement, the Punjab Government on Wednesday announced the launch of a `Tandarust Punjab’ mission to make Punjab the healthiest state in the country, with healthy people.
In sharp contrast to `Fit India’, which is limited to Yoga as a means to boost the health of the people, `Tandarust Punjab’ is a comprehensive mission, which has been envisaged by Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh as a holistic initiative to take care of the state’s air quality, water quality, and safe food, thus ensuring a good living environment for the citizens of Punjab.
The Mission has been evolved, as a focused and integrated approach towards creating a healthy Punjab, in consultation with all the stakeholders to work. Interestingly, the Mission title/name and content were suggested by the farming community, according to an official spokesperson.
The Mission would have the Chief Minister as its Chairman and the Environment Minister as Vice Chairman. Other members would include all concerned Ministers, Chief Secretary and Principal Secretary Environment, Principal Secretary to CM. Secretary Agriculture and PPCB chairman KS Pannu has been designated Mission Director.
A Mission Task Force at the State Level would be constituted to oversee the programme implementation and its review on a monthly basis. It shall have the Chief Secretary as Chairperson, Principal Secretary Environment as Vice-Chairman, besides Principal Secretaries of the various departments involved in the implementation of the Mission. Special Principal Secretary to CM, Secretary PWD B&R, Secretary Sports, and Secretary Information & Public Relations will be other members, with Secretary Agriculture as Mission Director
According to the notification issued by the Punjab Government’s Department of Science, Technology & Environment, “the main goal of the Mission will be to provide clean drinking water, improve air quality, ensure growing and consuming unadulterated food and food products, and to improve the physical and mental health of the people of Punjab.”
The Mission “envisages to build a healthy Punjab for achieving human excellence in a sustainable manner,” as per the notification, which lays down a multi-pronged strategy to achieve this goal.
The Mission will be focused on building awareness among the principal stakeholders, especially the residents of Punjab through comprehensive IEC planning and activities. It will improve the working of regulatory mechanisms within the Government for achieving desired standards of living, besides ensuring proper implementation of development programmes of government. It will also work towards obtaining baseline data and set clear, achievable targets in a time-bound manner.
Specific roles and responsibilities have been allocated to the various departments involving in the implementation process.
Given the criticality of Health to the Mission’s objective, the Department for Health has been entrusted with the task of making people aware about the food safety concerns and effective implementation of Food Safety Act, especially ensuring the prescribed quality of Milk and Milk Products. Preventing sale of spurious and unauthorized medicines as well as sale by unlicensed chemists, is also high on the Department’s agenda, which will also work towards creating awareness about Communicable and Non-Communicable diseases and stressing upon preventive health aspects. Free health screening of all citizens above the age of 30 years will be undertaken by the Department, which will also ensure effective implementation of the government’s School Health Programme.
The Chief Minister has also stressed on the need to ensure adequate safe potable drinking water availability in rural areas by the Department of Water Supply & Sanitation, which will test water quality from time to time to ensure that physical, biological and chemical parameters are within prescribed limits. The Department has also been taked with eliminating open defecation to reduce disease burden on individual households.
Regular drives for vehicular pollution check by the Department of Transport, and laying protocols for safe water in rural and urban areas by the Department of Environment is another priority agenda.
The Department of Environment will also undertake regular monitoring to ensure ambient air quality, besides creating awareness against crop residue burning and implementing NGT order in this regard. It will check industrial pollution and ensuring effluents/emissions within laid down norms, and also ensure safe disposal of Plastic/e-Waste and Bio-medical waste as per the prescribed rules.
Other departments involved in the Mission implementation are Department of Local Government, Departments of Agriculture and Horticulture, Department of Cooperation, Department of Forests (Ghar Ghar Hariyali), Department of Sports, Department of Public Works, Department of Water Resources, and Department of Rural Development and Panchayats.
Each department will designate one Nodal Officer to oversee the programme implementation and coordinate with the Mission Director.