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KARACHI: The Supreme Court-mandated commission on water and sanitation in Sindh on Thursday constituted a three-member inquiry committee to scrutinise the civil structures of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) and the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) and investigate if the officers of both bodies were lawfully appointed and promoted in accordance with SC orders.

The commission headed by former SC judge Justice Amir Hani Muslim said that this exercise should be completed within a month.

The commission said that with the consent of the KWSB managing director, the committee was formed to inspect the civil structure as well as examine service profiles of the employees in detail to determine whether appointments and promotions made in both organisations were in accordance with the terms of principles laid down by the Supreme Court in the cases reported in the contempt proceedings against the Sindh chief secretary (2013) and Ali Azhar Khan Baloch versus the province of Sindh (2015).

Sessions judge to investigate encroachments on a drain in SITE

The committee, comprising local government secretary Syed Khalid Hyder Shah, additional secretary of irrigation Ghulam Ali Brahmani and additional secretary of the services and general administration department Shahmir Khan Bhutto, will pass orders after reaching a conclusion.

The commission directed the KWSB MD to cooperate with the proposed inquiry committee and said that after the outcome of the inquiry, the aggrieved persons could approach the SC.

Earlier, some employees from both the organisations approached the commission about the issues of their promotions.

Inquiry into encroachments on drain

The commission appointed the district and sessions judge (West) to hold an inquiry into the allegations levelled in a complaint, including alleged illegal water connections and encroachments on a drain in SITE, by a pharmaceutical company.

The commission observed that the inquiry was being ordered since the issue related to fundamental rights of the area residents besides depriving the public at large of utilising clean water and unpolluted atmosphere.

It also directed Asif Hyder Shah, the commission’s focal person, the deputy commissioner West, KWSB MD, SITE MD and director general of the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) to provide relevant documents as and when required by the sessions judge.

The commission further said that the judicial inquiry would be completed within three weeks and also asked the complainant to appear before the sessions court.

Advocate Tariq Mansoor filed a complaint before the commission and alleged that a pharmaceutical company had encroached upon a drain and built an industrial unit on it, stealing water from bulk supply through illegal connection and using industrial land for commercial activities.

Time sought for conversion of industrial plots

An additional advocate general has sought more time to file a report regarding conversion of industrial plots into commercial within the industrial zones of Karachi as well as in other parts of the province on the ground that he is proceeding abroad while the chief secretary was also out of station to appear before the SC.

The commission granted time till Oct 18.

On Sept 17, the commission had expressed serious concerns over the construction of commercial plazas on industrial plots in SITE and observed that prima facie it was against the terms and defeated the very purpose of creating industrial zones.

Illegal water connections

The commission directed the deputy commissioner of Malir to visit the areas with the applicant where the water lines had reportedly been tampered with and illegal connections given.

It also directed the XEN to accompany the DC with the DSP concerned. The commission also told the Malir SSP to provide required force in case the connections needed to be disconnected.

The commission said that the exercise should be completed within 15 days and a report submitted by Oct 25.

Published in Dawn, October 12th, 2018