In a bid to pressurise Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa), the Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco) on Friday cut off all 198 power connections of Wasa for the second time in two weeks as power dues soared to over a billion rupees.
Later, on the intervention of Sindh Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad, Hesco restored power supply to Wasa after keeping it suspended for about six hours, averting a situation which could have created water scarcity and sewage problems in the city.
Wasa owes Rs1.32 billion to Hesco in power bills for the period July 2010 to February 2012. Wasa insists it is experiencing a financial crunch and is even unable to pay salaries to its employees.
“We have made it explicitly clear to the Sindh government that we don’t even have Rs170 million for paying salaries of the last five months. In this situation, how can we pay billions of rupees in electricity bills,” said Wasa Managing Director Saleemuddin Arain.
“We restored connections of Wasa on June 15 on the assurance given by the Sindh governor to our CEO that the government will clear the arrears,” said Hesco spokesman Sadiq Kubar.
Kubar said Wasa had to pay arrears of around Rs7 billion, adding the power utility sought clearance of only the recent bills – Rs1.32 billion for 20 months, which had been verified by the Power Department of the province.
Wasa disposes of 4.5 million gallons of sewage per day while water supply is between 4.5 and 5 million gallons per day.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2012.
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