KARACHI: As the fate of the Greater Karachi Water Supply Scheme, also called K-IV, hangs in the balance, the Sindh government has set up a technical committee to re-evaluate the project after the state-owned National Engineering Services Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd company (Nespak) raised objections over its design. The multibillion-rupee scheme, meant to meet the water needs of Karachiites, has remained a distant dream even after more than eight years of its formal launch, officials and sources said on Saturday.
The Sindh government had last month confirmed the reports that Nespak had raised objections over the design and announced its plan to set up a technical committee to review the project while taking the objections raised by the state-owned engineering company into account. The fate of the project, the sources and officials said, depended on the committee’s findings and final report which it expected to compile within a month.
Headed by the Sindh local bodies secretary with the managing director of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, the project director of K-IV, an officer of Pakistan Army from Corps V, a senior official of the planning and development department and senior faculty of the NED University of Engineering and Technology and Mehran University as its members, the committee is ready to start its job.
However, the question haunts many Karachiites in line with the apprehensions expressed by different segments of society and political parties whether the provincial government was going to abandon the project half way or willing to find a way out for the scheme. The provincial secretary for local government, Roshan Ali Shaikh, who was heading the technical committee, was hopeful that the project would meet success and it would “definitely” serve the purpose.
‘The provincial government is really very serious this time’
“We are very much hopeful to complete our job within a month,” Mr Shaikh told Dawn. “The committee has mandate to re-evaluate the project but it doesn’t mean that it has lost its significance or is being further delayed. There are only a few technical issues which emerged after the Nespak report. We hope that these technicalities can be sorted out through different ways and we firmly believe that the outcome would be positive.”
According to information available on the website of the Frontier Works Organisation, which is building the giant scheme, the supply project is 121 kilometres long, that includes a 94km canal, 18km siphon and 773-meter intake and 81 culverts. It says that the project envisages an alternative route and corridor to serve Karachi’s water needs for the next 50 years which will reduce the shortage of water in the area and provide 1,200 cusec or 250mgd to it.
The project was formally launched in 2011. However, multiple causes have delayed its completion and increased its estimated cost to Rs150 billion. The authorities, however, this time claim to have completed their “homework” and would not let the project get delayed further.
“Let me tell you that the provincial government is really very serious this time,” said Mr Shaikh, the provincial secretary for local government and chairman of the recently-formed technical committee. “It’s not only the K-IV but there are several other projects which the government is taking up with a clear resolve that they all have to be completed and no one is going to be abandoned. Resolving the water issue for Karachi and its people is a challenge and the government is confident to meet it with success.”
Published in Dawn, November 17th, 2019