KARACHI: The completion of the Karachi Greater Water Project K-IV has been delayed by a year and it is now expected to be ready by the middle of next year, said Local Government Minister Jam Khan Shoro.

He was responding to legislators’ queries about the issues relating to the Local Government department during the Sindh Assembly’s Question Hour on Monday.

When Muttahida Qaumi Movement’s Qamar Rizvi said that only 20 per cent work had been completed on the K-IV project, the minister agreed with him that the pace of work was slow and said the foundation stone of the two-year project was laid on Aug 14, 2016 and it was scheduled to be completed by June 2018 but unfortunately the deadline could not be met.

He added that the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO) was implementing the project and it had committed to complete the job by June 2018.

‘Real estate firm not the main beneficiary’

“The FWO has employed over 386 pieces of equipment and machinery on the 120-kilometre-long site and over 1,100 workers are working on it under three colonels of the FWO/Pakistan Army,” he said.

Responding to Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Seema Zia, Mr Shoro stated that federal and Sindh governments were equally sharing the cost of the project and so far Sindh had released around Rs5.2 billion while the federal government had given around Rs6.4bn.

“Over Rs7.58bn have been spent on the project so far which is designed to bring 260 million gallons of water to the city daily,” he added.

To answer Bilquis Mukhtar, the minister narrated that the federal government had refused to pay around Rs5bn which was the cost of the land required for the project though 50 per cent cost-sharing formula had been agreed upon between them.

“Keeping in view the importance of the project, Sindh is paying for it and has so far released Rs2.5bn. But we have planned to take up the issue with the federal government so that it pays its share,” the local government minister added.

He said the federal government also did not agree to provide water for the K-IV which delayed the project. “Eventually Sindh provided water from its share for an early start of the project.”

Responding to a question by PML-N’s Aijaz Shirazi that landowners whose lands had been acquired had not yet been paid, Mr Shoro said the Sindh government had made around Rs2.5bn available and the process to pay compensation had been initiated.

“All landowners will be paid soon,” he added.

Pakistan Muslim League-F’s Nand Kumar and MQM’s Mr Rizvi asked if Bahria Town was the main beneficiary as it was reportedly been provided with a direct water connection from the K-IV while rest of Karachi will get only 20 per cent water from it, the minister said nobody was being provided a direct connection.

“K-IV’s water will be provided through three filter plants located at Pipri, Manghopir and near Baqai University. The areas to be benefitted included Landhi, Korangi, Lyari, Central and West districts, North Karachi and adjoining localities etc.”

Responding to MQM’s Mehmood Razzaque, the minister said the Local Government Act 2013 did not allow UC chairmen to give permission for road cutting.

“Such permissions can only be given by the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation or district municipal corporations concerned,” he added.

PML-N’s Shafi Jamote asked about installation of treatment plants so that additional water of 260 MGD from K-IV could be treated; Mr Shoro said two treatment plants on Lyari River and one on Malir River were being installed which would release water into the sea after treatment.

To another of his questions that why treated water was not being used for agriculture, the minister said there was no such planning at the moment.

A written answer to a question asked by PTI legislator Khurram Sher Zaman said there was no plan or proposal to hand over administrative control of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board to Pakistan Army.

MQM’ Rehan Zafar, Kamran Akhtar and Rana Ansar, who had asked the questions, were not present in the assembly when their names were called.

The questions asked by them were not pressed by anyone, therefore, they lapsed.

Published in Dawn, March 6th, 2018