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Cost of long-delayed sewage treatment project jumps nearly five times

Updated October 08, 2015

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Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan presides over a meeting on the Greater Karachi Sewage Treatment project at Governor House on Wednesday.—APP
Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan presides over a meeting on the Greater Karachi Sewage Treatment project at Governor House on Wednesday.—APP

KARACHI: The cost of the Greater Karachi Sewage Treatment Project, better known as the S-III project, which is funded by the federal and provincial governments, has increased from Rs8 billion to Rs39 billion due to a delay in its completion, it emerged on Wednesday.

The revised cost was disclosed during a meeting on the S-III project held at Governor House. Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad Khan, who chaired the meeting, sought “effective steps without any further delay” to complete the project and asked the stakeholders concerned to play their due roles in this regard.

The governor called for “undertaking effective steps without any further delay to help check environmental pollution,” said a statement issued after the meeting in which he was briefed about the S-III project for Karachi.

“Owing to disposal of untreated water into the sea, the environmental pollution has increased that obviously increases threat to lives of many. The S-III project was actually designed considering such emerging challenges of environment.”

The governor was quoted as saying that because of the delay in execution of the project, the project cost had enhanced and it was now crucial that there should not be any further delay.

“All the stakeholders — federal and provincial governments as well as the Karachi Port Trust — should take initiative and play their due role in completing this key project,” the statement quoted the governor as saying.

It was in October 2014 when Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah had constituted a committee for early implementation on the K-4, S-III and other water projects while showing reservation that the completion of Greater Karachi Sewage Treatment Project |within its approved cost of Rs8 billion seemed difficult.

During the Wednesday meeting, the governor was informed that the project cost stood at Rs39.10 billion. Under this project, Rs21.82 billion had been set aside for Lyari River Basin and Rs17.28 billion for Malir River Basin, he was briefed.

“The meeting was informed that the PC-I of the project was approved by ECNEC in September 2007,” said the statement sharing facts about briefing to the Sindh governor. Under the contract, the federal and provincial governments agreed to equally share the cost. “However, as the work was not initiated [on time] the cost increased and it’s now estimated at Rs39,108.474 million.”

The meeting was told that the project design had been approved while work on Lyari River Basin had already been initiated, said the statement, adding after the completion of the S-III project some 500 million gallons of water would be treated and disposed of into the sea.

Muharram security

Later in the evening, the Sindh governor held separate meetings with Sunni and Shia clerics to review and discuss security and other arrangements during Muharram-ul-Haram so that sectarian harmony could be maintained during the first month of the Islamic calendar.

“Today’s meeting has been called to give the message of Muslim brotherhood and to make effective security arrangements with consultation of the clerics during Muharram,” the statement quoted the governor as saying.

“A few elements want to exploit the situation by triggering sectarian disharmony but these elements should not be supported. The law enforcement agencies are focused and doing their best for a lasting peace in Karachi.”

Published in Dawn, October 8th , 2015

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