RAWALPINDI, Feb 2: A money dispute between Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) and the Punjab Communication and Works (C&W) department has led to the suspension of work, over the relocation of water supply and sewerage lines at Pirwadhai Mor Flyover.
C&W is ready to pay for the relocation cost but refuses to pay for the cost of new supply lines and tube wells, which RCB wants to install.
Previously, C&W had provided Rs16.8 million to RCB for the shifting of water supply and sewerage lines at Peshawar Road for the construction of Pirwadhai Mor Flyover.
However, RCB found that the money was not enough to complete the task and asked the Punjab government to provide more funds. But the Punjab government linked the allocation of more funds with the verification of the work done by the RCB.
This move of the provincial government annoyed the officials of RCB, who stopped working on the site.
As a result, due to the suspension of work, residents of the area and adjoining areas like Naseerabad, Chistiabad, Pirwadhai Mor, Kohinor Mills, Haji Camp and Golra Mor are without drinking water.
The situation has forced people to get water from private water tankers.
“We are not getting any water. The situation has become unbearable. We just want to draw the authorities’ attention to our plight which has turned a blind eye on civic problems,” said Mubarik Shah, a resident of Chistiabad.
Mr Mubarik blamed RCB for water shortage in the area and alluded to double standards of the RCB officials claiming that “they (RCB) did not know how to talk to civilian residents of the cantonment area.”
While Faraz Akhtar, a student, said that she had not gone to school for three days because of non-availability of water. Some other children said that they had not taken a bath for more than 10 days.
Two other agitated residents, Ziaul Badar and Khalid Mehmood, lashed out at the civic body for not providing water and demanded of the government to solve the problems of the cantonment population.
When approached, RCB Cantonment Executive Officer Rana Manzoor Ahmed Khan, told Dawn that water shortage occurred due to the strange attitude of Punjab government’s C&W department, which was working on Pirwadhai Mor Flyover and the underpass project.
“The RCB had to replace the water supply lines at the main Peshawar Road to provide water supply to the adjoining areas. The lines were disturbed by the Pirwadhai Flyover Project at Peshawar Road and it is the duty of the provincial government to provide money for the relocation of the supply lines at the construction site but it failed to do so,” he said.
He said that the provincial government provided Rs16.8 million against the actual cost of Rs27 million. He said that he sent three letters in the last week to C&W Executive Engineer Farhat Munir to provide the funds, so that the RCB could complete the work but the department officials turned a blind eye over the issue.
“RCB stopped the work on relocation of water supply lines and sewerage lines at Pirwadhai Mor. RCB will not start work until and unless the provincial government provides full payment for the work,” he said.
On the other hand, the provincial government department accused that the RCB officials wanted to lay new lines and establish tube wells in the area from the funds of the project, in the name of shifting of services.
“C&W is not responsible for the laying of new water supply lines and sewerage lines in the area as it is the duty of RCB. C&W will pay the money for that work which is affected by the construction work,” said Jamshaid Khan, project manager of Pirwadhai Mor Flyover and Executive Engineer at C&W.
“The RCB submitted the initial estimate worth Rs31 million including the establishment of two tube wells in the area and new water supply lines but the Punjab government rejected and reduced the amount to Rs21 million, while excluding two tube wells,” he said.
He said that the C&W department again sought the estimate of relocation of supply lines from the construction site and the RCB submitted the estimate of Rs27 million. “It is unfair to include the new supply lines and sewerage lines for the adjoining areas in the name of shifting of services. We will not allow them, as the next government will conduct the audit of the multi-billion project and we will be arrested for doing nothing,” said Mr Khan.
“C&W asked the RCB to form a joint team for the verification of the estimate and work, and after verification, C&W will pay the remaining amount,” he said.