KARACHI: The Supreme Court-mandated commission on water and sanitation in Sindh on Monday summoned two contractors tasked with the disposal of garbage in South and East districts after the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board chief complained that they had violated the contract.

Head of the commission retried Justice Amir Hani Muslim put both the contractors on notice and directed them to turn up on Aug 1 with an explanation that why their contract should not be rescinded and/or penal clauses should not be invoked against them for defiance of the terms of the contracts.

SSWMB managing director Saeed Ahmed Mangnejo has brought to the notice of the commission some serious complaints against both contractors and contended that they were not complying with the terms and conditions under which the contract was awarded to them.

Expresses serious concerns over supply of contaminated water to patients in hospital

He further said that the contractors had withdrawn the manpower in violation of the terms of the contract.

There were some other serious allegations against the contractors and the commission directed the SSWMB MD to place the same before it in writing.

KMC, DMCs barred from allowing temporary encroachments

Expressing resentment against the Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) for giving permission to dump construction material and debris on roads and streets, the commission barred the KMC and district municipal corporations from granting permission for temporary encroachment on any public space as defined by the apex court in a case related to hoardings.

The Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA), through a report, informed the commission that in compliance with its earlier orders, the construction material and debris had been removed from roads and streets.

However, the commission said, it was very surprising that permission for such purposes was given by the KMC prima facie on the strength of the powers conferred under the Karachi Building and Town Planning Regulations 2002. But these powers are not applicable to encourage builders to use any part of the city outside the plot to be used for dumping debris, it added.

“It is a permanent eyesore that the construction material even after completion of the buildings is lying outside the buildings and likewise debris remains lying on roads and streets indefinitely. Neither the KMC nor SBCA or DMCs ever showed concern over this and, to the contrary, the cleanliness process is hampered by them,” it added.

It also directed the KMC, DMCs and SBCA that any debris or construction material would not be allowed on roads or in streets and be removed at the cost of the persons raising the construction.

PSQCA chief summoned

The commission expressed serious concerns over supply of contaminated water to patients and others at the Peoples Medical College Hospital in Shaheed Benazirabad and summoned the director general of the Pakistan Standards & Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) on Aug 2 for explanation for allowing local companies to supply water without maintaining the standards required under the law.

The commission was informed that the samples of water, being supplied for drinking through two filter plants installed at the hospital, were collected and reports said that the water was microbiologically contaminated and was not fit for human consumption.

Replying to a question, medical superintendent Dr Muzzafar Chandio said that 28 dispensers were placed in the wards and were refilled by a private local company.

However, Dr Ghulam Murtaza of the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources said that samples of water were collected from different wards and it transpired that even dispensers were providing unsafe water and prima facie the private company refilling the dispensers was not registered with the PSQCA.

The commission also ordered collection of fresh samples from dispensers and sought a report on Aug 2.

The commission also deplored that Rs260.5 million, meant to be spent on clean drinking water, had not been utilised and the MS failed to give any justifiable explanation.

The commission was of the tentative view that its orders dated March 22 and June 20 were violated and health and finance departments facilitated that violation.

The health secretary sought time to inquire into the matter and the commission granted one week and also made it clear that during the inquiries the new government would not displace him without its permission.

Published in Dawn, July 31st, 2018