KARACHI, May 7: The Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) has remained indifferent to repeated complaints of Malir area residents about contaminated water for over three years now.
Residents of the A-Area of Malir Colony, Kala Board, situated near the National Highway and Malir 15, have been forced to buy water from bowsers for their basic daily needs. “We cannot carry on this way. It is a very expensive arrangement, which we cannot afford all the time,” said one of the residents while speaking to Dawn on Monday.
The affected residents (of houses A-180 to A-230) have also registered complaints about the problem several times since 2009 with the local nazim and the KWSB XEN but to no avail.
Dawn has received their signed letters to the authorities. The first time was on April 21, 2009 when they were given the complaint number 7883 after calling on the 1339 number.
Since the following month the managing director of the water utility was changed, another complaint was lodged on May 26, 2009 and they received 1722 as their complaint number. According to the residents, nothing came off and the problem was not rectified. They filed yet another complaint on Jan 12, 2011 and received the complaint number 220, but two days later the then managing director was replaced. Finally, a fourth complaint has been registered now in the hope of some progress on the issue.
The gap between the first two complaints and the other two was due to change in the local government. “We thought it better to wait and watch while the new people settled in but our problem has persisted throughout without any improvement,” said the resident.
Asked what they had been told by the relevant authorities about fixing the leaks, the resident provided, “They told us that they haven’t been able to repair the lines due to lack of funds. But we know that’s not it since three budgets have been passed during this time and they must have received the necessary funds by now,” he reasoned.
“The colony was founded in 1958 and the waterline was laid here at that time, even before the land was divided into plots,” explained the resident. “It’s an old line and the leaks in it are expected. The problem started three years ago when we realised that our water supply was contaminated after people in the area started falling sick,” he added.
“We were lucky to be receiving abundant water round the clock but now when the gutter line is full during the day, sewage gets mixed up with clean water due to the leak in the pipeline. At night when the gutter line does not overflow or leak, the waterline is clear yet we get water from the pipe that carried sewage in the day,” he said.
“Children and elderly people in the neighbourhood have weak resistance. Though everyone is careful not to drink the contaminated water, they still keep falling ill through contact with it one way or the other. It is a big problem, which no one in authority seems to realise,” he said.
When Dawn contacted KWSB Managing Director Misbahuddin Farid on the issue, he said that he wasn’t sure why a water contamination problem had been ignored for so long.
“Contamination complaints are taken care of almost immediately,” he said, “but I will be in a better position to answer your queries in about 20 minutes after finding out more about this problem from the officials concerned in that area.”
However, the gentlemen couldn’t be reached on being called again and again by Dawn after that.