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SUKKUR: Retired Justice Amir Hani Muslim, head of the one-man Supreme Court-appointed commission on water quality in Sindh, was so aghast at finding highly polluted water being supplied to Sukkur and Rohri residents that he remarked the water was not even fit for consumption by animals.

Justice Muslim asked Sukkur Mayor Arsalan Islam Shaikh and Deputy Commissioner Raheem Bux Maitlo whether they, too, drank this water and the two hung their heads after failing to come up with an answer.

The judge then exhorted them to fear God in regard to people and said it was better not to supply water at all to save people from drinking such poison.

Justice Muslim reprimanded deputy director of Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) during a visit to SITE when he found there were no effluent treatment plants in industrial units.

He directed the EPA officer to submit to him a report about total number of effluent treatment plants and static tanks in industrial units within a week and take action against the factories found violating EPA laws.

The officer informed the judge that of total 59 industrial units most factories had no treatment plants. Justice Muslim inquired in anger why no references in this regard had been sent to relevant authorities so far.

Justice Muslim, during his visit to water supply and sewerage installations in Saeedabad, directed additional sessions judge of Rohri to hear people’s complaints about quality of drinking water being supplied to them and send their statements to him so that action could be taken against the delinquent officials.

He directed chief municipal officer of Rohri to get water reservoirs and static ponds cleaned within three days and instructed the civil judge to supervise the cleaning work. Umar Kas Wah should be cleaned within a week, he said.

He asked the officers concerned to separate funds for salaries and pension of municipal employees from those of development schemes and ensure regular payment of salaries and pension through bank. Action should be taken against white-collar sanitary workers under Section 133, he said.

Justice Muslim asked the mayor to post a chemist at water testing laboratory and hire services of three chemists from Shah Abdul Latif University on temporary basis to improve standard of water filtration plants. He asked him to get repaired faulty power generators lying in waterworks within a month.

Justice Muslim expressed dissatisfaction over the state of filtration plants and directed the mayor to carry out de-silting of all four water tanks within 20 days.

The mayor informed the judge that sewage and polluted water was being released directly into the river without treatment from at least 100 points and the municipal authorities were planning to establish a wastewater treatment plant on 30 acres at a cost of Rs550 million. After completion of the plant, water would be released into the river after proper treatment, he said.

Justice Muslim directed DIG Sukkur range to take stern action against the people causing damage to pipelines of oxidation ponds of drainage in Saeedabad.

Irrigation Secretary Mustafa Jamal, Sukkur Commissioner Dr Mohammad Usman Chachar, Deputy Commissioner Raheem Bux Maitlo and other officials concerned accompanied the judge during his visit.

Published in Dawn, February 10th, 2018