HYDERABAD: The provincial government is confronted with an array of problems with regard to the supply of water to urban and rural areas, said Education Minister Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar.
Dahar, who inaugurated on Thursday the newly-constructed building of the US-Pakistan Centre for Advanced Studies in Water in Jamshoro, said that the Sindh government is well-aware of this multifaceted problem.
“The supply of water is linked with the country’s economy, economic development, food, health and other essential requirements,” he observed. Although he assured that the government was taking serious measures to successfully deal with the challenge, he did not specify how the problems of supply of impure drinking water and shortage in the urban areas will be addressed.
In a tacit recognition of the provincial government’s failure to address the water supply and sanitation issues of the province, the Supreme Court has formed a judicial commission. The commission, headed by a single sitting judge of Sindh High Court, is tasked with fact finding, as well as ordering the concerned arms of the government to resolve the problems.
The minister appreciated the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) for providing funds to establish the centre, which is located in the Mehran University of Engineering and Technology (MUET).
“The work you all do here will have important implications for growth in Sindh and Pakistan,” Deputy Mission Director Denise Herbol said. The new three-storey building is spread over 54,721 square feet with an additional 108,600 square feet of open area.
It consists of five classrooms, six research laboratories, a library, lecture auditorium, conference room, students’ common room, research scholars’ room and the administration offices. USAID has provided $20 million for the construction of four new research centres in the Pakistani universities carrying out applied research to find innovative solutions for water, energy, agriculture and food security challenges.
The centre aims to produce 250 scholars, who will contribute extensive research on water issues. It is offering free master’s of science and master’s of engineering education, along with a Rs15,000 monthly stipend to the students.
Currently, 86 students are enrolled in two separate batches in the MS programme and 10 in the doctorate of philosophy. The centre’s faculty comprises 17 teachers.
USAID’s Mission Director Jerry Bisson and MUET Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Muhammad Aslam Uqaili were also present on the occasion.