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KARACHI: The Supreme Court-man­dated commission on water quality and sewerage system in Sindh on Monday came down hard on the director general of Sindh Environmental Pro­tec­­tion Agency (Sepa) for mis­leading it.

Retired Justice Amir Hani Muslim, who heads the one-man commission, observed that it was unfortunate that misleading information was provided by Sepa about the industrial units which were allegedly violating laws and put on notice.

The judge directed the Sepa DG to do homework before the matter was brought to the notice of the commission. He warned that if this happened again, the DG would be held responsible and penal consequences would also flow against the officers who provided such [misleading] lists.

Justice Muslim also called for bringing such cases to the notice of the commission within four days where time had lapsed and the orders had not been complied with.

The commission issued bailable warrants against owners of a number of food processing units functioning in and around Korangi Fish Harbour for failing to appear before it despite summons having been issued through the Malir SSP.

The industrialists were supposed to explain why the untreated industrial waste of their units was disposed of into drains/sewers.

Owners or representatives of dozens of industrial units appeared before the commission on Monday and were told to install tanks on the premises of their factories within two months, failing which their units would be sealed.

Nawabshah filter plants

The commission expres­s­ed its serious reservations over two water filter plants lying non-functional in Nawabshah, and directed the Sindh chief secretary and public health secretary to resolve the issue within the next three days.

The judge warned that in case of non-compliance with the directive, an appropriate order would be passed as the public at large was suffering every day due to callousness of officials concerned.

Earlier, Dr Ghulam Mur­taza of the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) complained to the commission that both plants had been shut down by M/s Pak Oasis, inter alia, on the grounds that the company could not afford running them without getting payment of the operational and maintenance cost.

The commission noted with displeasure that directives had repeatedly been issued to the secretaries of local government and public health departments in this regard but no progress was made as yet.

The commission recalled that the Supreme Court had ruled that the public health department should take over and run all water and sewerage schemes while the local government secretary should provide human reso­urce for the purpose.

Published in Dawn, September 4th, 2018