ISLAMABAD: Even though Shams Colony is situated within the limits of Rawalpindi Cantonment, the people living there do not have water supply at their houses. This is because the limits of the cantonment form a moot point between the Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) and the Capital Development Authority (CDA), the National Assembly was informed.
Shams Colony, situated alongside the railway track near the Golra Mor, consists of more than 1,500 houses, with many more under construction. However, the colony will not get any water supply till the territorial claim is settled, Defence Minister Chaudhry Ahmed Mukhtar said in a written reply to MNA Rana Mahmoodul Hassan. Mukhtar added that the colony falls under RCB limits.
However, the people of the colony are not observing RCB rules and regulations as the residents of surrounding areas have obtained stay orders from the court maintaining that the colony does not fall into the jurisdiction of the cantonment.
The minister said that 24 “flimsy” civil suits were pending in different courts. He said the actual dispute was between the RCB and the CDA, and that the RCB was trying hard to get the ‘stay orders’ vacated as Shams Colony lies within its jurisdiction and the stay orders were only obstructing the enforcement of RCB rules there.
Once the stay orders are removed, the claims made over the territory would also be resolved through subsequent court orders, said the minister. “There is no specific order of status quo with regard to Shams Colony, but a general order of status quo,” he added.
Mukhtar said there is an acute shortage of drinking water in Rawalpindi Cantonment, as underground water is not available in sufficient quantities. Therefore, a project to supply water to the cantonment from Khanpur Dam is on hand.
The first two phases of the project have already been completed which has partially reduced water scarcity. The third phase of the project, funded through the Public Development Sector Programme (PSDP), is still in progress.
The minister said that on the completion of the third phase, the condition will further improve and the RCB will be able to supply water to Shams Colony. However, water supply would also be subject to the resolution of the dispute between the CDA and RCB.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 28th, 2011.