RAWALPINDI: College students in the garrison city are being forced to drink water tainted with sewage, contaminated due to a faulty sewerage system which has been mixing effluent with the water supply lines in at least eight colleges of Rawalpindi.
A letter available with Dawn reveals that the education department has asked the provincial building department to look into the matter.
Meanwhile, an official of the education department said that the principals of the colleges in question had been complaining about the faults in the sewerage system.
The official added that an inspection team from the National Institute of Health (NIH) found the presence of bacteria in a tubewell installed at Vaqarun Nisa College. On the directions of the provincial education department, the principal decided to close the well last month.
He added that there are also apprehensions that the water in Government Degree College for Boys Satellite Town, Muslim Town Girls College, Degree College for Women Dhoke Kala Khan, Degree College Dhoke Elahi Bux and Degree College Zafarul Haq Road was also contaminated due to damaged sewerage system.
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On May 21, the directorate of colleges wrote to the building department of Rawalpindi, requesting it to check the problem and prepare rough cost estimates so money for its repair could be included in the next Annual Development Programme (ADP).
The letter, a copy of which is available with Dawn, outlined the problem being faced by the colleges, all of which are located in NA-56.
Director Colleges Rawalpindi Division Prof Humayun Iqbal said that the college principals met Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Mohammad Hanif Abbasi last month to discuss the missing facilities in the colleges.
They also raised the issue regarding the contamination of drinking water in the colleges, due to old and dilapidated sewerage system.
“It does not mean that all the students, who are pursuing their education in NA-56 colleges, are drinking contaminated water. All the colleges have multiple sources of drinking water,” he said.
The director colleges further said that after the meeting, Hanif Abbasi directed his office to fix the problems.
Talking about the letter written by his office to the provincial building department, Mr Iqbal said: “We wrote the letter on the directions of Hanif Abbasi to check the problem and prepare cost estimates for the inclusion in the next ADP for the upgradation of the sewerage system, which could pollute the clean drinking water,” he said.
Pakistan Tehrik-i-Insaf Chairman Imran Khan is the member of the National Assembly representing NA-56 in parliament.
Published in Dawn, May 28th, 2014