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Billion-rupee water scheme non-functional for years

Updated at
2013-07-14 09:36:08

BAHAWALPUR, July 13: A mega water supply project completed at a cost of over Rs1.1 billion about seven years ago has not been made operational yet due to negligence of the officials concerned.

This is depriving hundreds of thousands of citizens of clean drinking water who were being forced to purchase it.

Dawn learnt the water supply project is part of the South Punjab Basic Urban Service Project (SPBUP) launched and funded by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in 2001. The ADB contributed 70 per cent of the funds with interest while the remaining 22 per cent and eight per cent was shared between the Punjab government and the city TMA, respectively.

Under the scheme, 54 tubewells had been installed on the banks of the dried-up River Sutlej and Ahmedpur branch canal near Baghdadul Jadid railway station. Underground water pipelines had been laid through contracts given by the then city TMA officials in Satellite Town and other localities and the scheme was completed in 2003.

Later, the TMA could not get electricity transformers from Mepco to switch on the tubewells for years. After several transformers had been installed, some of them were allegedly stolen that further postponed operation of the scheme.

City TMA Executive Engineer Shahid Kazmi told Dawn that the scheme had been completed in 2006. He also claimed several transformers installed by Mepco to power the tubewells were stolen. He further said currently the underground water pipes were being tested as most of them might have been either damaged or leaking over the years.

He said the testing could take over a month and was expected to be completed by September. Even then he was not sure if the scheme would be made functional.

Due to delay in the project, residents had been forced to depend on TMA’s water filtration plants or purchase drinking water from shops. Many even purchase water from vendors on donkey carts.

PROTEST: Workers of a textile mills on Sammsatta Road here on Saturday blocked the Bahawalpur-Karachi national highway to protest against non-payment of their salaries for the last five months.

The protesters shouted slogans against the management and blocked the road, suspending traffic for hours.

candlelit vigil: Teen activist Malala Yousafzai was lauded for her contribution for promoting ‘education for all’ at a candlelit vigil by a large number of lawmakers, NGOs, civil society members and journalists.

The event, organised by an NGO Al-Sadiq Desert Organisation, coincided with Malala’s 16th birthday and her historic address to the UN Youth Assembly on Friday.

Those who participated in the vigil included MNA Begum Sabiha Nazir, MPA Hasean Naz, Civil Society Network President Syed Israr Shah and Riaz Baloch of Al-Sadiq.

Earlier, at a seminar speakers paid a tribute to Malala, who is struggling for women’s education, particularly in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and standing for children’s education.

Speakers also urged the Punjab government to provide educational facilities to the neglected children of Cholistan.


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