KARACHI: Only 38 per cent of the work on the Greater Karachi Bulk Water Supply Scheme, better known as the K-IV project, has been completed, said a report of the one-man commission on water and sanitation in Sindh.
In its progress report recently placed before the Supreme Court, the commission, headed by retired Justice Amir Hani Muslim, stated that although acquisition of encroached land had been progressed considerably, a 5.7-kilometre-long portion was yet to be handed over to the project executing agency.
It further said that on the intervention of the commission, the mega project of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board had been put on a faster track with inclusion of ancillary works, power plant and augmentation project.
The SSWMB will soon extend its operation to Central and Korangi districts
The commission had also expressed annoyance over the failure of the authorities concerned in providing any substantial material about the 22 realignments in the K-IV and warned that it might refer the matter to the National Accountability Bureau after an application was filed against realignments.
A resident of Usman Allah Rakhio Goth in Gadap Town had filed an application before the commission submitted that the alignment, approved in 2016 was the only straight and shortest possible time/money-saving route, but realignments of the project was based on mala fide intentions to achieve ulterior motive and to give benefit to the Bahria Town Karachi.
Later, the applicant approached the Sindh High Court and obtained a stay order.
Garbage collection capacity increased
The report further said that the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB) had almost doubled its daily garbage disposal from 5,238 tonnes in Dec 2017 to 10,000 tonnes daily in August.
The board was presently operating in four districts of Karachi, whereas the councils of remaining two districts — Korangi and Central — had also agreed to transfer the function of solid waste collection to the SSWMB, it added.
The report stated that contractors had increased their workforce by inducting more than 500 workers and procurement for increasing mechanical capacity was also underway while a biometric system of attendance had also been introduced in South and East districts.
Sepa offices to be set up in 10 more districts
The progress report stated that the operations of the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) had been augmented to districts other than the provincial metropolis and an amount of Rs98 million had been released for the establishment of 10 district offices.
The finance department also allocated funds in the current financial years for nine more district offices of Sepa, it added.
Three such offices had been established in Ghotki, Naushahro Feroze and Kashmore districts while work on the remaining offices would be initiated during the current fiscal year, it added.
The environmental protection laws are being implemented through Sepa and the violators have been taken to task as 152 cases sent to the environmental protection tribunal while 384 complaints were filed in courts of judicial magistrates. Around 239 complaints were filed in Karachi, 80 in Hyderabad, 40 in Sukkur, 18 in Mirpurkhas and seven complaints in Larkana.
The commission also examined the issue related to the sewerage treatment plants in Hyderabad.
It found that two federal government-funded treatment plants (eastern and southern treatment plant & northern and western treatment plant) had almost been left abandoned due to thin funding as well as certain issues in execution of the schemes.
The commission assigned these projects to the planning and development board, which will resolve the issue and get the schemes revived either through the federal funding or provincial government’s.
However, the tendering process for the northern and western plants was underway and the physical execution would commence in November, the report said.
17 water testing labs established
The progress report said that 17 water testing laboratories would be established in different districts of the province to enable the public health engineering department to ensure constant vigilance and monitoring of the quality of water.
After the due process of tendering, award letters had been issued for establishment of laboratories in Dadu, Jacobabad, Khairpur and Shikarpur districts while work orders would be issued soon for such laboratories to be set up in Matiari, Tando Allahyar, Mirpurkhas, Sanghar and Tharparkar.
The appropriate places for establishment of laboratories had been identified and the laboratories would be made functional by the end of next year, it added.
Water, sanitation schemes
Established in January, the Supreme Court-mandated commission headed by retired Justice Muslim in its report further said that it could not find a single properly functioning scheme of water and sanitation in the whole province during its visits and thus the scope of rehabilitation of schemes was far greater.
It added said that earlier reports of the provincial government said that out of around 2,500 such scheme, 954 were non-functional.
However, the commission disagreed with this statistic and it held an independent view based on the empirical material collected through extensive visits all over the province and said that the number of existing non-functional schemes were too high than previously considered.
It stated that 66 new schemes of water supply and drainage in rural and semi-urban areas of the province had been completed against the target of 92 schemes, adding that 26 schemes were at an advance stage and would be completed by this month.
These were the Annual Development Programme (ADP) schemes and at some places, the schemes were being delayed for certain administrative and logistic reasons, it added.
The report further said that against the target of rehabilitating 80 existing water and sewerage schemes, 62 had been completely rehabilitated and 18 others to be completed by the end of this month.
The tendering process of another 391 new schemes of water and drainage had been completed and successful bidders would soon award contracts.
There were more than 550 points in 10 districts where untreated municipal and industrial waste outfalls into the irrigation system, the report said.
After an elaborate feasibility report, preparation of PC-1, designs and estimates for treating such waste in Larkana, Sukkur, Khairpur, Kashmore, Kambar, Dadu, Badin, Sujawal, Matiari and Naushahro Feroze had been completed and work would commence by the second week of the next month.
Published in Dawn, September 21st, 2018