KARACHI: Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah has said that he has been directed to resolve the issue of contaminated water all over Sindh.
He said this while speaking to the media during his visit to Jahangir Park Wednesday evening. He was accompanied by Local Government Minister Jam Khan Shoro and Senator Murtaza Wahab.
“As a chief minister I am exempt from appearing before the court but, I thought the Supreme Court was working hard to resolve the issue of contaminated water in Sindh and it is the issue of our people, therefore I must appear before it,” he said, adding that the SC had set a direction to solve the issue of contaminated water and hoped it would be resolved in the minimum time period.
He said that he has identified 726 major points all over Sindh from where domestic waste and effluent is released into distributaries and canals. “We have made schemes of installing treatment plants to treat domestic waste and effluent before releasing it into the water bodies and this will cost Rs3.59 billion,” he said, adding that in the first phase treatment work would be started at 221 points at a cost of Rs800 million, for which he has allocated Rs400 million.
The CM said that water testing laboratories are being established in 23 districts for which he has approved an amount of Rs105 million. He added that there were 953 non-functional water supply and RO plant schemes. “I have approved an amount of Rs4.9 billion to make them functional and work on most of the schemes has been started,” he said.
Shah said he told the Supreme Court that a drainage scheme for Shikarpur city was in full swing. The drainage system in Shikarpur has improved considerably, he said, adding that another Rs1.41 billion drainage scheme was also under way. A similar scheme was also in progress in Mirpurkhas, he said. “We are working hard to stop the release of waste water, industrial waste and effluent into canals but it would take some time to resolve the issue properly because a great deal of funds are required for the purpose,” said Shah.
He said that the Supreme Court ordered him to initiate an inquiry against a former city nazim for illegal allotment of land belonging to Treatment Plant-II (TP-II). “Just after returning from the court I have directed the chief secretary to issue the inquiry order,” he said.
The CM also spoke about the K-IV project and said that the federal government had agreed to share 50% of the cost of the Rs25 billion project but so far has only released Rs3 billion.
Shah said that Sindh cannot be singled out, since the predicament of contaminated drinking water and unsanitary conditions are more or less the same across Pakistan. Unfortunately, Sindh is at the lower end, receiving river water contaminated with all kinds of effluent from Punjab, he said. “Studies show that several industrial cities, including Faisalabad, dump untreated effluent in the Indus River,” he said.
Speaking about water quality status of major cities of the country, Shah said he told the court that 69% of people of Pakistan drink unclean water. He quoted the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources, Ministry of Science report which says Punjab drinks 69% unsafe water, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa 47%, Balochistan 81% and Sindh 81%. This means it is a national issue and must be solved holistically, he said.
The CM assured that his government was committed to resolving the contaminated water issue for which work with sincerity and commitment was in progress.