KARACHI: The judicial commission sought on Saturday a definite timeline from the federal and provincial authorities concerned regarding the commencement of work on the master plan to save the province’s water bodies from being polluted.
Justice Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro of the Sindh High Court (SHC) sought the timeline by November 11, as he headed a Supreme Court-appointed judicial commission to probe the authorities’ failure to provide clean drinking water and sanitation in the province.
On Saturday, Mustafa Jamal, the chairperson of the task force, filed a report on the implementation of the master plan. The public health engineering department’s (PHED) secretary, Tameezuddin Khero, said he had already gone through the report and intended to move a PC-I within a month in light of its recommendations.
The commission asked government officials to apprise on the next date a definite timeline for starting work to implement the master plan.
Khero said the Hyderabad and Sukkur electric power companies were on board and helping satisfactorily in energising the connections on water supply and drainage schemes. According to him, applications were moved for providing electricity connections to 239 schemes, of which 214 had been energised so far.
The secretary said the sewerage treatment plant (STP) in Shaheed Benazirabad was made functional and its biological activation was in process, adding that the plant will start delivering once the work was complete.
Khero also filed a report on the Urban Water Supply Scheme Umerkot (Ultra Filtration Plant Umerkot) along with a report of the executive engineer, disclosing that the said plant was put into operation on October 15 but it had developed some snags, hence was closed. However, it was made functional after necessary rectification.
The commission directed the task force’s chairperson to visit the plant along with Dr Ghulam Murtaza, a member of the task force, to verify and check the water quality and submit a report.
Local Government Secretary Muhammad Ramzan Awan also filed a report regarding compliance of directions issued on October 7.
According to his report, the Golarchi water filtration plant in Badin district will be made functional within a few days as earlier issues of payment to the contractor had been resolved. Regarding the filtration plants in Umerkot and Jati, he said that due to some technical faults, those plants were still not moving and will be made functional within a short time.
Khero said that the urban water supply scheme Jati, Sujawal district had been energnised and after due testing it will be put into operation within a week.
About draft regulations for operating the water hydrants, the commission was informed that the same were presented to the law department, but it raised some objections over it and had called representatives of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board for discussion.
The KWSB managing-director assured that he will look into the draft regulations in detail and ensure that every issue relating to running the water hydrants was addressed.
Additional Advocate-General Sarwar Khan also volunteered to put in his experience and efforts in preparing an all-encompassing draft on the matter.
Industries Secretary Abdul Raheem Soomro filed a progress report about five proposed combined effluent treatment plants to be built in Karachi. According to the report, the matter was discussed in a meeting, chaired by the planning and development ministry’s deputy chairperson, held on October 19. In the meeting, this project had been recommended and it was now to be placed in next meeting of the executive community of the National Economic Council for final approval.
Researcher Murtaza said that in pursuance of the commission’s directives for checking the water quality at hospitals, he had provided a list of 31 secondary and tertiary hospitals for this purpose and sent a proposal to the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources for approval and work will start from November 1.
Health Secretary Fazlullah Pechuho filed a report disclosing that three incinerators had been supplied to health director-general in Hyderabad for installation in district hospitals Shikarpur, Naushero Feroz and Badin. The secretary said he was personally looking into the issue and intended to enter an agreement with the supplier to not only install incinerators but also operate them for at least two to three years. He was directed to do the needful and submit a report showing tangible progress in this regard.
The task force’s chairperson filed a report identifying the causes of failure of the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (Sepa) in dealing with the environmental issues according to its mandate. He suggested remedial measures.
The Sepa director-general was provided the report’s copy for his perusal and preparation to discuss the matter on the next date.
The managing-director of the Water and Sanitation Authority (Wasa), Hyderabad also filed a report to the effect that the quality of water being supplied from the water filtration plant in Jamshoro had been improved, adding all the chlorinators were made functional, thus water after due chlorination and with added alum dose was being supplied to the people of Hyderabad.
Larkana Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Radiotherapy Director Siraj Ahmed Abbas filed a report, showing that the incinerator had been installed in the hospital and water filters were made clean and now clean water was being provided to the people and patients.
He vowed to improve water and sanitation conditions in the hospital and was ready to implement any recommendation or suggestion proposed by Dr Murtaza in this regard. The commission directed them to do the needful and submit a report.