KARACHI: Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ibad and Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Sunday performed the groundbreaking ceremony of the first phase of the long-delayed Greater Karachi Bulk Water Supply Scheme, commonly known as K-IV.
The first phase of the Rs15.25 billion project will add 260 million gallons daily water to the city’s system in 2018.
The groundbreaking ceremony of the same project had earlier been performed by then chief minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah in June 2015. However, work on the project could not begin due to funding issues for more than a year.
The 50 per cent cost of the project is being borne by the federal government. The Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) would construct a 75-kilometre gravity canal system, two pumping stations, four filtration plants and as many storage lagoons. The water would be brought from Keenjhar Lake.
While thanking the federal government for sharing half of the project’s cost, CM Shah recalled the services of his predecessor and said that Qaim Ali Shah was determined to complete the K-IV project even in the case of the federal government’s refusal to release its share.
“This is a big gift for the people of Karachi and I am giving it to my citizens today,” he said and thanked Governor Ibad for his effort in launching the scheme.
Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif thanked for sharing 50pc cost
Mr Shah said water shortage in Karachi was one of the serious problems and, therefore, his government launched the K-IV project to provide 260 MGD water to the city on a priority basis. “But this is not enough I would promise to launch K-IV phase-II on next Aug 14 to provide another 260 MGD to households as well as industries.”
He said when he was finance minister he had allocated enough funds for the K-IV because it was envisaged in 2007 but was kept on the backburner. The former CM had also given special attention to the project.
“We all, Sharjeel Memon, the former local government minister, and Jam Khan Shoro, the sitting local government minister, and the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board had decided to award the K-IV project to the FWO,” he said, adding that then CM Qaim Ali Shah had relaxed public procurement rules and allowed the award of the contract to the FWO because “we all believed in the quality of its work”.
Mr Shah said: “You [Karachiites] may have to face another water shortage next summer, but after that you will have enough water to beat the heat,” he said, adding that the K-IV would be completed within two years and “without waiting for its completion I will start K-IV phase-II next Aug 14 and again the FWO will be building it.”
He said that the Sindh government had given its land, resources for the project and “I am thankful to the officers who worked hard to approve its plan”.
He added that a Rs10bn Karachi package had been launched, and out of 19 of its schemes he had approved 14 so far while the approval of other schemes was under way.
Governor Ibad appreciated the collective efforts of the Sindh government and the KWSB. He thanked the FWO chief for starting the project with his commitment. “This project has finally been launched after a delay of many years.”
Dr Ibad said with the completion of the full scheme additional 520 MGD potable water would be supplied to the citizens of Karachi.
He said that the project was of immense importance for the city and hoped that after its completion the problem of water shortage would be eliminated.
He further said that the launch of the project was a challenge but the bigger task was to ensure the availability of required water from the Indus River System Authority (Irsa), which was managed before the initiation of the project.
“Those who contributed towards arranging this additional water from Irsa should be commended by all of us,” he said.
He lauded the federal government for sharing the project’s cost and said he was thankful to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.
He also appreciated the personal interest of CM Murad Ali Shah in the project and said the pledge by him to start the second phase of the project next year was welcome news for the citizens.
The governor said with the completion of K-IV and other development projects, the infrastructure of basic amenities would improve considerably and people of Sindh would feel a difference soon.
He appreciated efforts of law enforcement agencies, particularly of the Rangers, for the restoration of peace in Karachi.
FWO director general Maj-Gen Muhammad Afzal highlighted the scope of the K-IV project and vowed to complete it within two years.
Earlier, the CM, governor along with minister Nisar Khuhro and Jam Khan Shoro arrived at the venue on the Superhighway in a helicopter. They jointly unveiled the plaque to formally perform the groundbreaking of the project.
Rangers DG Maj-Gen Bilal Akbar, additional chief secretary (dev) Muhammad Waseem and KWSB chief Misbahuddin were also present.
Published in Dawn, August 15th, 2016