PESHAWAR: The provincial government Wednesday found itself in hot waters after a court directed the top anti-corruption watchdog to probe alleged corruption after a department failed to complete sewage water treatment plants despite having spent millions of rupees.
A two-judge bench of the Peshawar High Court (PHC), comprising Justice Qaiser Rashid and Justice Muhammad Ayub Khan, directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to launch an inquiry to determine what the concerned Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) department had achieved after spending large sums of public money.
The directions came as the court heard a writ petition filed by advocate Ghulam Shoaib Jally.
Jally had contended that in 1993, the K-P government had decided to build two sewage water treatment plants in Peshawar. One of those plants was supposed to be built in Hayatabad while the other was to be constructed on the Charsadda road.
The project was supposed to be financially assisted by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
While substantial amounts of funds were utilized, the authorities have failed to make the plants functional, he argued.
Jally demanded that the court hold the planners accountable for wasting public money.
The petitioner added that in the absence of sewage water treatment plants, untreated drain water has been draining into different canals of Peshawar which make the water unfit for irrigation apart from becoming a threat to public health and aquatic life in rivers.
Moreover, he said that land which had been acquired to build the plants was currently lying vacant and there are fears that it could be usurped by land grabbers since the market value of the land runs into billions.
Officials of the provincial finance department, water and sanitation services, Peshawar Development Authority and communication and works department appeared before the court.
The court asked the officials why funds were wasted and what efforts have been made to build new sewage water plants or to make sure the existing plants work.
The officials told the court that the provincial government was planning to build new sewage water treatment plants for the city.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 17th, 2018.