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KARACHI: The Supreme Court-mandated commission on water and sanitation in Sindh on Friday directed the secretary of local government and other officials to decide a matter pertaining to the escalation in the cost of work on two treatment plants.

Head of the commission retired Justice Amir Hani Muslim asked the consultant and the project director of the treatment plant-I and III to brief the local government secretary within a week and directed them to take a decision on the issue.

The issue of delay in TP-I and TP-III was brought before the commission and it had passed an order on March 3 this year restricting the Pak Oasis firm from claiming any escalation in cost of work which was awarded in August 2014.

However, according to the consultant of the project, the tender was awarded in August 2014, but the work orders were issued in piecemeal on account of funds’ constraint.

The delay on part of the contractor was penalised by the commission through an order. The contractor claimed that the earlier part of the commission’s order would not extend to the work which was subsequently ordered.

He further contended that the first phase of the work related to rehabilitation of TP-I and TP-III whereas the second phase was for upgrading and expansion of both treatment plants.

The consultant further said that under the terms of the contract escalation of cost of work was permissible as the work was ordered after a delay of almost four years and in such eventuality the contractor was entitled to the escalation in cost which was again part of the terms and conditions of the contract.

The secretary of local government, Syed Khalid Hyder Shah, informed the commission that he needed time to examine the issue at his end.

Therefore, the commission directed the project director and consultant to approach the secretary to brief him on the issue and provide the assistance within a week to take a decision on the matter.

Warrants for 28 industrialists reissued

The commission on Thursday reissued warrants for the arrest of 28 industrialists over their absence.

While issuing bailable warrants for the second time against the owners of factories and industrial units located in the Ibrahim Haideri area, Justice Muslim directed the SSP Malir to arrest them and produce before the commission on Sept 11.

Earlier, the commission had summoned them to turn up for justification of directly discharging industrial waste in drains and the sea, but they did not show up. On Sept 3, bailable warrants were issued against them and they were again found absent during Thursday’s proceedings.

Meanwhile, the commission directed around a dozen of owners and representatives of other industrial units, who turned up before it on Thursday, to install septic tanks within their factories in two months, failing which their units would be sealed.

Published in Dawn, September 8th, 2018