• MQM-P lawmakers demand fair distribution of water in city
• Water board accused of granting illegal connections
• House passes bill to establish University of Larkano

KARACHI: The Sindh Assembly on Monday echoed for an umpteenth time with the opposition’s concern over the water scarcity in Karachi as the provincial government informed the house that the shortage would continue to persist until the completion of the K-IV, or Greater Karachi Water Supply Scheme.

Six call attentions notices of the opposition members drew attention of the provincial government towards the persistent water shortage that hit every inhibited part of Karachi, while the seventh pertained to water woes of residents of Hyderabad.

The water shortage issue in Hyderabad was raised by Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan’s parliamentary party leader Rana Ansar, while her party lawmakers — Ali Khurshidi, Basit Ahmed Siddiqui, Sadaqat Hussain and Syed Hashim Raza — through their call attention notices asked the local government department to resolve water shortage issue in parts of the city including Surjani Town, Orangi Town, Landhi and Korangi.

‘Karachi getting only 600MGD’

Replying to the call attention notices, the parliamentary secretary for the local government department, Saleem Baloch, said that currently Karachi needed 1,200 million gallons of water per day (MGD), while it was getting only 600 MGD from two its sources.

“Almost 100MGD water is wasted due to leakages,” he said, adding that the residents were actually supplied only 500MGD.

He said that the completion of the K-IV project would bring an end to water problems in the metropolis.

Drawing attention to the water shortage in his constituency, MQM-P’s Sadaqat Hussain said that the people of Orangi Town had been deprived of water for 90 days. He demanded that strict action must be action against officials concerned over their “failure’.

He said that the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) was actively involved in granting illegal water connection in the vicinity, adding that five illegal connections were given in the last week alone.

The MQM-P member said that he had also brought the matter of illegal connection to the parliamentary secretary for local government department, but to no avail.

Mr Baloch said that the provincial government was making all-out efforts to ensure fair distribution of available water across the city. He also assured the house that strict action would be taken against whoever was involved in illegal connection.

Mr Khursheed, another MPA from Orangi Town, said that the water source for his constituency and other parts of West district was Hub dam, adding that there was enough amount of water in the resource to supply to district West.

He said that water had not flowed in the lines for the past 22 days, while illegal connections were being given in the area where private hydrants were operating with the active connivance of the water utility.

The MQM-P MPA said that the water shortage in the densely-populated vicinity of Orangi Town might lead to law and order situation as residents were indulging in brawls for getting water.

Basit Ahmed Siddiqui of the MQM-P said that there was an acute water shortage in Surjani Town. “The people of my constituency are craving for a drop of water but tanker mafia is getting and selling it easily,” he added.

He said that children and women could be seen with cans and buckets roaming in the city to get sub-soil water.

He said that the water tanker mafia was getting water for their carriers easily, while people were deprived of the essential necessity. “Please give us water connections from the same lines tankers are getting water from,” he added.

In his call attention notice, Hashim Raza maintained that there was unfair water distribution in Korangi and Landhi. He said that the water allocated for his constituents were being stolen through installation of illegal booster pumps on bulk line.

The parliamentary secretary, however, denied the grant of any illegal connection and establishment of any illegal hydrant in the city.

Govt concedes water shortage in Hyderabad

In her call attention notice, Ms Rana Ansar said that water shortage had become a chronic issue in Hyderabad.

She said that the meagre quantity of water being supplied in the city was contaminated and unfit for human use.

She said that though there was water shortage in every city, Hyderabad was the worst-affected city due to short supply of water. She said that the city needed 120 MGD, but it was being given only 60MGD.

Responding to the notice, parliamentary secretary Baloch conceded that there was an acute water shortage in Hyderabad mainly due to electricity loadshedding and excessive use of water during summers.

“The pumps are closed due to power suspension affecting the regular water supply,” he added.

Mr Baloch said that the efforts were on to get the water pumping stations exempted from the loadshedding by Hesco.

Meanwhile, the assembly also passed The University of Larkano Bill, 2023; The Sindh Fiscal Responsibility and Debt Bill, 2022; The Sindh Arms (Amendment) Bill, 2023; The Sindh Social Protection Authority (Amendment) Bill, 2023; and The Sindh Goth-Abad (Housing Scheme) (Amendment) Bill, 2023.

The sitting was adjourned to Tuesday (today).

Published in Dawn, July 25th, 2023

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