SKARDU, April 5: The residents of Skardu city have been drinking polluted and unhygienic water for the last several months. Talking to Dawn here on Wednesday, several people complained that they had no option but to consume the water which is contaminated with particles of sand, clay, and cement.
The water started getting polluted after a construction company the Sadpara Dam project resumed work two months ago. It is believed that the construction company has been causing the pollution by dumping its debris into the stream water that feeds the main supply system in the area. This water carrying particles of clay, sands, soil and insects remains untreated and gets supplied to the taps of households.
A few days ago, this correspondent learnt that the company was laying concrete into the main stream water. Next day, this reporter along with some other media men visited the site and noticed that although the company completed its work, cement foam could be noticed in the stream.
When contacted, Suhail Shehzad, the construction manager of the Sadpara Dam project, said that they discussed the matter with the deputy commissioner Skardu and the chairman municipal committee. In the meeting it was decided that a time schedule for working would be fixed, so that the public could store water during its working hours. However the time table was not conveyed to the public and the manager said it was not their responsibility to do so.
It is said that there was a specific fund to arrange an alternative supply of clean drinking water to the city during the construction work at the project, but when contacted, Wapda local project director Yousaf Shah denied it and said there was no such specific scheme to lay another pipeline to supply the area with clean drinking water.
Although the government was spending billions of rupees on the Sadpara dam project, the authorities concerned ignored to ensure a system to supply clean drinking water for the people.
An official of the NAPWD water department in Skardu said that they had forwarded a proposal to Wapda authorities to approve a 27 inch pipeline from the dam to a water supply tank in the area.
At present, apart from the water pollution issue, several localities in the city were also facing drinking water shortage.
Owing to prevailing conditions, some people fetch clean water from a natural spring located at Sadpara Lake travelling six kilometre, others purchase bottles of mineral water, but the majority of the population here have no choice but to drink the polluted water.