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RAWALPINDI: The water distribution and the fee collection system in cantonment areas will soon be given to private sector subject to approval of Military Lands and Cantonments Department.

Taking the water distribution and the fee collection issues seriously, the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) wanted to outsource the water bill collection but later it realised that private companies should also be involved in the distribution of water to improve the working of the water branch.

“The proposal in this regard had been made and would be submitted before the RCB meeting and later to Military Lands and Cantonment for final approval,” said a senior official of RCB while talking to Dawn.

A proposal will be submitted to the board and then to military land, cantonment dept for approval

He said the RCB was facing problems in collection of water fee from the commercial and domestic consumers as mostly people refused to give the fee on regular basis.

“The residents claimed that they did not receive water regularly so they will not pay water bills. For the cantonment board it will be difficult to snap water connection as the move will face backlash from political parties,” he said.

He said the Military Lands and Cantonment had already asked the cantonment boards to lay off redundant staff aimed at cutting down expenditures under the head of salaries.

More than 3,200 are registered RCB employees and the rest are extra, he said.

In addition to technical staff, two workers had to work round the clock to operate a tubewell, the RCB official said, adding the water branch officials especially tubewell operators had become a burden on the civic body.

Another official of RCB while talking to Dawn opposed the idea of outsourcing bill collection and water distribution system as what he said it would increase the water bill manifold.

He said the private companies would charge more fee from the commercial and domestic consumers in the cantonment areas who were already facing problems in managing their household budgets.

He said that the RCB was getting water from two sources --Khanpur Dam and tube wells.

However, he said it was receiving 9 MGD water from Khanpur Dam and 10 MGD from tube wells.

He said cantonment areas needed more than 30 MGD and the current distribution system was not enough to fulfill the water demand of more than 1,000,000 residents of the cantonment areas.

When contacted, RCB Cantonment Executive Officer Syed Sibtain Raza admitted that there was a dire need to increase the income of the civic body to manage the gap between income and expenditures.

He said the proposal to outsource the water management system would be presented before the board and then it would be sent to Military lands and Cantonments for final approval.

He said the basic idea to outsource the water branch was to improve the water supply and fee collection.

He said it was a normal practice in main cities of the world that private companies collected fee and were also involved in the distribution of water.

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2019