PESHAWAR: Chief Minister Mahmood Khan has directed public health engineering department to initiate action against all illegal and unregistered water connections throughout the province and ensure legalisation and registration of all water connection within the next two months.

According to a statement, he has also directed the department to take measures in those areas of Karak district where water has been contaminated due to radioactive ores, which is causing serious health hazards to the local population.

The chief minister said that complete study of the issue should be conducted and all stakeholders should be consulted to come up with a solution.

He said that schemes of water supply would be included in the next Annual Development Programme for the areas facing water shortages. He was chairing a review meeting of public health engineering department.

Special Assistant to Chief Minister Riaz Khan informed him that 72,589 illegal water connections were identified and 4,930 of them were regularised. He said that a target of Rs218 million, under water charges recovery, would be achieved during the current financial year.

He said that the draft of provincial sanitation policy was prepared that would be presented to the cabinet soon. He said that Provincial Drinking Water Policy 2015 was being updated whereas work on integrated water resources management strategy was also underway.

He said that public health engineering department was working to introduce a new system under which damaged pumping machinery in water supply schemes would be replaced within 24 hours. The service will be part of all future contracts.

The meeting was also informed about completion of 268 water supply schemes, completion of 243 sanitation schemes, rehabilitation of 67 water supply schemes, solarisation of 14 tubewells, completion of nine new solar-based tubewells, completion of sewerage schemes in Dera Ismail Khan and Utla Dam for Gadoon area and water supply scheme for Rehmanabad and Shakardara in Kohat district.

The chief minister was informed that 60 per cent of the released budget was utilised whereas in the tribal districts, a total of Rs191.73 million was spent in the Annual Development Programme so far.

Published in Dawn, February 17th, 2020