KARACHI: The fate of K-IV water supply project hangs in the balance after Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah confirmed that the state-owned engineering corporation Nespak had raised objections over the design, and Pak Sarzameen Party chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal apprehended that the provincial government is going to abandon the project half way.
Work on the Greater Karachi Water Supply Scheme, also called K-IV, has been stopped for long. The provincial government had missed several deadlines it had given for completion of the project and still no one knew that when the work on the much-needed project resume again.
On Sunday, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah told reporters accompanying him in an hours-long visit to the city that a commission had been constituted to make necessary amendments in the route of the K-IV project so that its stopped work could be resumed.
Kamal warns abandonment of the project won’t be accepted
He was asked to comment over objections raised by Nespak reportedly declaring the project in its present form unfeasible.
Without naming the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, the CM said that the route of K-IV project was approved by the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board when it was being governed by those who were now running the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation.
“Being an engineer and finance minister in 2014, I had raised objections on the route and said that the storm-water drains were running along the route and would definitely affect the K-IV canal,” he said. “But at that time my objections and I were considered as an opponent of the project.”
It was said that the finance minister was reluctant to release funds and “now Nespak has also raised the same objections”, said the chief minister.
However, he said that he had held a detailed meeting with all stakeholders and was keen to complete the K-IV project.
But PSP chief Mr Kamal is not that optimistic.
He said that it would be a great injustice to the water-starved people of Karachi if the provincial government abandoned half way the long-delayed project.
“We reject the report of Nespak. Ending the K-IV project after spending Rs10 billion of the public money on it is a big conspiracy against Karachi,” he said in a statement issued on Sunday.
“The reason given for [proposing] abandonment of the project that the canal [to be constructed to bring water from outside to Karachi] may be affected in case of an earthquake is ridiculous and beyond any comprehension.
“As we have no hopes left with the federal or provincial governments, we now appeal to Chief of the Army Staff Gen Qamar Javed Bajwa to play his role and save the people of Karachi from this serious human tragedy,” said the former Karachi mayor.
He said that the project was initiated in 2008 when he was the city mayor and then in 2014 the Sindh government launched the construction work after having a detailed design consultancy.
He said that instead of compelling the contractor to complete the project within specified deadlines, the Sindh government was itself preparing reports in the favour of the contractor.
He said that his party had been asking the government to start work on K-IV’s both phases simultaneously so that the people could get clean drinking water but instead the government was going to abandon the project.
“The water crisis in Karachi is going to be intensified soon and by abandoning the K-IV the government is taking an anti-Karachi step,” he said, declaring that his party would not accept it and launch a peaceful protest on the issue.
Published in Dawn, October 14th, 2019