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Heat and loadshedding

June 15, 2012

FAULTY planning by Wasa is depriving Lahorites of drinking water. Several people were injured after police baton-charged their rally against Wasa [Water and Sanitation Agency] the other day. Four others were also arrested. Already upset by extremely hot weather and loadshedding, they were not provided with a drop of water. Wasa authorities linked the water shortage to loadshedding whereas all tubewells are actually fitted with diesel generators. Out of 150 generators only 30 are functioning. The rest have either developed defects, or are denied diesel. A few days ago the Punjab government ordered payment of Rs100m for Wasa generators. But despite the release of funds the situation remains the same. No step has been taken to have the faulty generators repaired.

Wasa is also plagued by corruption. Hundreds of litres of diesel [for] its vehicles are stolen daily as is being done with the garbage-lifting fleet of the city. It is also being said that a garbage-lifting vehicle takes only one round (of the dumping ground) and is kept stationed for the rest of the day (to save and steal its fuel). Similarly, Wasa vehicles and tubewells are lying inoperative, and the funds for their fuel are being pocketed by Wasa staff in league with their officers. On one hand the chief minister is running a protest campaign against power loadshedding; on the other [he] is encouraging corruption by turning a blind eye to what is going on in Wasa, forcing people to face severe dearth of water.

That corruption is rampant in all Punjab departments is a fact. The same is the case with law and order. The PML-Q’s Chaudhry Zaheeruddin had said in a news conference the other day that over 150,000 robberies, thefts and other crimes in the past few months had exposed the Punjab government’s ‘good governance’. Not a single day passes without corruption stories in the Punjab government departments.—(June 14)

Selected and translated by Intikhab Hanif.