RAWALPINDI: The Punjab government removed the managing director (MD) of the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa), making it virtually headless as other senior posts in the agency were already vacant.

The removal was sudden as there was nothing adverse against the former Wasa managing director, Raja Shaukat Mehmood.

A Wasa official said the posts of deputy managing director, deputy managing director engineering, deputy managing director administration, finance and revenue have also been vacant for the past few months.

Agency has lately been facing administrative, financial issues

He explained that there are usually two deputy directors for water supply and sewerage of which charge has now been given to the executive engineer and the director administration, Aamir Qureshi, who already has the added responsibility of Wasa magistrate has been given temporary charge for finance and revenue as well.

“There is an administrative crisis in Wasa after the transfer of the managing director who was running the organisation in the absence of all the senior officers. After his transfer, Wasa has stopped work on major water supply and sewerage projects,” he said.

He explained that Wasa comes under the administrative control of the Rawalpindi Development Authority (RDA). A Wasa manager is in BPS-20 but the government had appointed Hayat Luk, a BPS-19 officer as RDA director general.

“Previously, Wasa managing directors would be upgraded to RDA DG such as Chaudhry Naseer Ahmed, who was appointed RDA DG in 2010,” he said.

Due to the administrative crisis in the civic body, work on major projects such as the Rs350 million sewerage project along the Islamabad Expressway, Chahan Dam Water Supply and the Sewerage Treatment Plant has been stopped.

“Wasa is also facing a financial crisis and it has told the government to give it a bailout package of Rs770 million. The summary is with Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar’s office for final approval but the new head when appointed will take a few months to understand the requirements of the civic body,” the Wasa official said.

He added that Wasa has to pay Rs7 million for electricity bills and failed to pay bills for 420 tubewells the last four months.

Wasa Workers Union CBA Chairman Raja Javed Hussain told Dawn employees are worried about their future due to the administrative and financial crisis.

“Who will sign salary and other cheques now that Wasa does not have a managing director,” he asked.

RDA Board of Directors Chairman Arif Abbasi said two names had been suggested for the post of Wasa managing director and that the administrative and financial issues will be resolved soon.

Published in Dawn, December 10th, 2018