PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly on Friday passed a bill for the formation of two separate bodies to manage and regulate water resources in the province for conservation and sustainability.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Water Act, 2020, which was unanimously passed by the house, empowers the water service providers to install water measuring meters and impose fine up to Rs50,000 on those tampering with them.

The bill was tabled in the house by law minister Sultan Mohammad Khan as Deputy Speaker Mahmood Jan chaired the session.

The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Water Resources Commission will be established under Section 3 of the law, which declared, “As soon as my be, but not later than six months of the commencement of this act, the government shall establish the KP Water Resources Commission to carry out functions assigned or transferred to it under this act.”

The chief minister will head the commission, which will have ministers of the environment, public health engineering, agriculture, industries, irrigation and local government departments as members.

Water meters will be installed and those found tampering with them will be fined

Besides the chief secretary, the administrative secretaries of several departments and experts on water will also be members of the commission.

According to the approved bill, the commission will take all policy decisions for conserving, redistributing or otherwise augmenting water resources and allocating water resources for domestic, agricultural, ecological, industrial or other purposes in different areas of the province.

Also, an authority will be established under the law for the regulations of water and sewerage services.

Section 7 of the law states: “As soon as may be, but not later than six months of the commencement of this act, the government shall establish the KP Water Resources Regulatory Authority.”

The law empowers the authority to ensure that the service providers discharge their duties and perform their functions in accordance with the provisions of this act or any other law for the time being in force.

The regulatory authority will approve, determine or revise tariffs for water and sewerage service providers, if deemed necessary.

The water service providers will face fine up to Rs 500,000 for supplying unfit drinking water through pipes to any premises.

During the session, the provincial police department came under fire.

PTI member Naseerullah Khan moved a privilege motion against the SHO of the Badhbare police station for ‘misbehaving with me without reason’.

He said he was travelling in his car when that SHO stopped him on Kohat Road and behaved.

The house referred the motion to its privilege committee for consideration.

Speaking on a point of order, Munawar Khan of the MMA said despite seven years ruling of the PTI in the province, if the police was so rude towards a lawmaker, the situation of common man would be really miserable.

Similarly, ANP lawmaker Salahuddin Khan criticised the government over failure to replace several deputy superintendent police in the province occupying their posts since 2015.

He said several inspector generals, chief city police officers and senior superintendent police had been changed but a few DSPs in Peshawar continued to stay put.

The chair referred the matter to the committee concerned for consideration.

ANP parliamentary leader Sardar Hussain Babak complained about excessive power cuts, low voltage and old transmission lines and electricity transformers.

He said the people were subjected to the prolonged unscheduled loadshedding though the province produced electricity more than its needs.

The lawmaker alleged that the Wapda was intentionally not building power infrastructure in the province.

The chair adjourned the session until Monday.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2020