Outstanding dues: Power supply to water utility disconnected

Citizens face acute shortage of drinking water; sewerage water accumulates on main roads

Our Correspondent December 29, 2016

SUKKUR: Due to non-payment of dues worth millions of rupees, the Sukkur Electric Power Company (Sepco) disconnected power supply to all the water supply and drainage stations of the North Sindh Urban Services Corporation (NSUSC) late Wednesday night.

The action has resulted into an acute shortage of drinking water in different cities and towns of upper Sindh, including Sukkur, Shikarpur, Khairpur, Larkana, Rohri and Jacobabad. Besides this, sewage water is accumulating on almost all the main roads and streets.

However, the NSUSC had purchased heavy duty generators to ensure the uninterrupted water supply to the citizens and pumping the drainage water in case of power failures, which are quite common in upper Sindh.

An official of NSUSC, requesting anonymity, said that these generators are seldom used for water supply or pumping drainage water. Instead, some officials save the fuel cost and pocket it for themselves, he said.

The organisation is already overburdened due to large-scale recruitments on political basis and despite having such a huge workforce, it has time and again failed to serve the people of upper Sindh, the official claimed. Many employees of the organisation continue to draw salaries and seldom show up for work, the official added.

Upon contact, NSUSC spokesperson Malook Baloch confirmed that their power supply was disconnected. The organisation has not been able to pay its bills for the past two months due to lack of funds, he claimed, adding that the Sepco authorities disconnected the connections without prior notice.

"We have informed the Sukkur commissioner and deputy commissioner regarding the disconnection of electricity, but it has yet to be restored." He claimed that the Sindh government will release the funds to the organisation by January 10, after which it will clear all its outstanding dues.

"As far as the water supply and drainage disposal is concerned, we are trying to provide water to the citizens through heavy duty generators," said Baloch. However, he admitted that generators are turned off for an hour after using them for two hours.

Sepco personal staff officer Karim Bux Soomro said that NSUSC has arrears worth millions of rupees but did not reveal the exact amount.

Making matters worse for the residents, the Sukkur Barrage canals will be closed from January 6 to January 20 and people of the area are likely face further shortage of drinking water.

Despite spending millions of rupees on the construction of a jetty at Bakhar Island, the project has yet to be completed. The project aimed to provide uninterrupted water supply to the citizens of Sukkur during the closure of canals.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 30th, 2016.


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