DHA, CBC told to file reports about measures to curb water theft

Published April 2, 2022
Cantonment Board Clifton bowsers supply water to the upscale neighbourhood.
—Fahim Siddiqi / White Star
Cantonment Board Clifton bowsers supply water to the upscale neighbourhood. —Fahim Siddiqi / White Star

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Friday directed the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) and Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) to file reports about the efforts taken to curb theft of water being supplied to it by the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Syed Hasan Azhar Rizvi also sought detailed reports from the KWSB and CBC regarding distribution of water in different areas of DHA and Clifton.

On the last hearing, the CBC had informed the SHC that it had asked the KWSB to ensure provision of allocated quantity of water nine million gallons per day water to it.

When the bench took up for hearing a set of petitions filed against an additional levy and inadequate facility of clean water in DHA and Clifton, the lawyer for the KWSB sought time to file parawise comments.

SHC seeks details of water distribution, available storage capacity

The bench directed him to do so within 10 working days.

The engineers of the KWSB and CBC were also present during the proceedings and the court directed them to submit reports regarding distribution of water, capacity of storage / reservoirs of water available with DHA and CBC and water supply being received by CBC from KWSB.

The officials were also directed to file details about the timetable of water supply by the utility to the CBC and DHA.

The bench stated that they would also explain in the reports whether water was being supplied on a daily, weekly or fortnightly basis.

“What actions have been taken by DHA/Clifton Cantonment Board and Karachi Water & Sewerage Board for protecting the water supply from theft are also to be mentioned in the reports to be submitted by the concerned officials of DHA/CBC and KWSB on or before the next hearing,” the bench said in its order.

While adjourning the hearing till May 17, the bench also directed the respondents to file comments and replies on the next date and directed that the earlier interim order on the application of a former attorney general would continue till the next hearing.

On the last hearing, the CBC had stated that currently it was receiving an average of 4.604MGD and requested the KWSB chief to supply 9MGD water as agreed between the water utility and the DHA.

Former attorney general Anwar Mansoor Khan, who is one of the petitioners, had filed a bill of Rs9,000 issued by the CBC and DHA claiming service charges for supply of water through water bowsers and the bench through an interim order had restrained the CBC and DHA from claiming any water supply charges from Mr Khan till the next hearing.

Around 95 residents of DHA and CBC filed three petitions in the SHC stating that they had been paying annual water levy, but the respondents had failed to provide adequate facility of water to them and other residents in flagrant violation of Article 38(d) of the Constitution and judgements of the apex court and charging additional amount against each water bowser.

They cited the defence secretary, director general of military lands & cantonment boards, DHA, CBC and KWSB as respondents and argued that the petitioners had regularly been paying requisite taxes including the annual water tax to respondents and entitled to be granted utility of water, but sufficient water was not being provided despite receiving additional charges.

The petitioners pleaded to declare the additional charges against each water bowser as illegal and unlawful.

They further sought directives for respondents to put in place an efficient water supply system to ensure adequate supply of water through pipelines to all residents and till then to provide five water bowsers to all residents including the petitioners and to provide actual statistics about supply of potable water to the residents through pipelines and bowsers.

The petitioners further sought implementation of the national water policy 2018 and installation of water meters and added that after establishing the water metering system, the respondents be directed to supply water through pipelines and halt the supply of tankers/bowsers.

Published in Dawn, April 2nd, 2022

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