SUKKUR: The judicial commission formed by the Supreme Court to inspect the state of civic infrastructure, sanitation and water supply in Sindh, visited offices of the North Sindh Urban Services Corporation (NSUSC), several canals, pumping stations and sewerage drains in Sukkur and Jacobabad on Wednesday. It has already covered Larkana and Shikarpur over the last few days.
The SC had formed the judicial commission while hearing a constitutional petition filed by Advocate Shahab Usto, who prayed to the apex court to take notice of poor civic infrastructure and lack of sanitation as well as unhygienic water being supplied to people.
Justice Mohammed Iqbal Kalhoro of the Sindh High Court, acting as the one-man commission, received a briefing held in the Sindh High Court building in Sukkur.
NSUSC Managing Director Mehmood Abbas Shah and general manager Mutahir Dayo informed him that out of the 29 water treatment plants installed in the city to supply safe drinking water to citizens, 26 were lying out of order. Due to this, most people were not getting safe drinking water, they said.
They also admitted that the hazardous water being discharged from hospitals, high-rises, households and factories was not treated before its final disposal into the river.
They further admitted that the civic agency could not efficiently fulfil its responsibilities over the last seven years.
Sukkur Deputy Commissioner Dr Waheed Asghar Bhatti, Mayor Arsalan Islam Shaikh and senior officials of various departments and district administration attended the briefing.
Justice Kalhoro expressed his concern over the situation and remarked that failure and inefficiency of the institutions concerned seemed responsible for deteriorating civic conditions in the city.
The commission collected samples of drinking water and sewage for laboratory test during its visit to Zero Point near old Sukkur, Bundar Road and various sections of the River Indus.
In Jacobabad, Deputy Commissioner Agha Shahnawaz Babar gave a briefing to Justice Kalhoro at the district and sessions court on the city’s water supply network and drainage system.
Advocate Usto, Jacobabad Municipal Committee Chairman Mir Ghulam Abbas Jakhrani, Shehri Ittehad president Akram Abro, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl leader Dr A.G. Ansari, Hindu General Panchayat president Lal Chand Seetlani, Ahmed Ali Khoso of the PPP-SB, G.M. Soomro of the Awami Tehreek and senior officials of the NSUSC and other relevant departments attended the briefing.
The DC attributed unsanitary conditions in the city to the neglect and carelessness on the part of the NSUSC, and referred to complaints made by the general public and municipal committee concerned about heaps of garbage littering every road and street.
He suggested that the NSUSC be relieved of its responsibilities and the jobs be assigned to the municipal committee.
Justice Kalhoro expressed his displeasure over highly risky water being sold to consumers by some people using tank-mounted donkey carts. He noted that the quality of such water had never been checked by the officials concerned.
He asked as to whom the city’s major water supply scheme, completed in 2008, was handed over to, to manage. He was informed that it was the taluka nazim. But when he asked about the project director, none of the officials present could give a reply.
Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2017