• Mayor will be chairman of the corporation
• New law empowers KWSC to outsource water supply, levy fresh charges

KARACHI: Amid continued absence of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) lawmakers, the Sindh Assembly on Thursday unanimously passed ‘The Karachi Water and Sewerage Corporation Bill, 2023’ to transform the KWSB into a corporation and a profit-making utility besides enabling it to meet the growing demand of potable water in the city.

Parliamentary Affairs Minister Mukesh Kumar Chawla presented the bill, which had earlier been introduced and sent to the Standing Committee on Law, Parliamentary Affairs and Human Rights of the house for vetting and deliberations.

Apparently fearing arrest or enforced disappearance, members of PTI have not been turning up in the house since the May 9 violent attacks in different parts of the country following arrest of PTI chief. Many of PTI leaders have been booked in different cases.

The new law also empowers the Karachi Water and Sewerage Corporation (KWSC) to outsource supply of water and maintenance of sewerage or any ancillary services, including communications, complaint management and the recovery of user fees and charges from all consumers in low-income areas and Katchi Abadis.

The introduction to the bill said that it was expedient to establish a corporation with a view to encompass all the essential components that would transform the utility into a profit-making organisation and to meet the growing demand of water.

It said that the bill was aimed at ensuring robust, accountable and modern management which will lead the utility to work in the most apt manner and to rationalise the recovery and tariff.

As per the bill, the city mayor would be the chairperson of the corporation while it would also have the chief executive officer (CEO) to be appointed by the board for a period of four years.

Besides, the corporation would be empowered to operate on sound commercial practice to ensure that its revenues are sufficient enough to provide for all operations and maintenance costs including a reasonable return on investment.

It would also devise strategic plans for effective and sustainable delivery of potable water and sewage disposal.

According to the bill, the KW&SC will also collect or recover tariffs, charges and fees, including betterment fees for water supply, ground water extraction and sewage services as well as arrears thereof. It will also ensure its financial sustainability.

The corporation would be empowered to borrow as may be required for the purpose of meeting any capital expenditure and discharging its functions from sources within or outside of Pakistan subject to law, rules or regulations.

The city mayor will be the chairperson of the KW&SC board and the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation administrator would be chairperson in the absence of the mayor.

The board would have seven ex-officio members — commissioner or his nominee, local government secretary or his nominee, finance secretary or his nominee, planning and development secretary or his nominee, director general of Sindh Katchi Abadis Authority and the chief executive officer of the corporation.

Besides, there will be six non-official members of the board having technical expertise in different fields.

‘Shaheed’ recognition bill

The house unanimously passed the ‘Shaheed Recognition and Compensation (Amendment) Bill, 2023’ making any person who sacrificed his life in an act of violence while discharging official duties, entitled to be called ‘Shaheed’.

The house also passed the ‘Al-Kawthar University Bill, 2023’ for the establishing the institution at Karachi. Separately, it passed the ‘Sindh Workers Welfare Fund (Amendment) Bill, 2023’.

Question Hour

Not a single out of 12 starred questions pertaining to college education could be taken up during the Question Hour as none of the movers of questions was present in the assembly that started proceeding with a delay of one hour and 45 minutes with a very thin attendance of members from both sides of the aisle.

Later, Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani adjourned the house till Friday.

Published in Dawn, June 9th, 2023

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