RATODERO: In the growing town of Ratodero, Larkana, 75% of the residents have been deprived of safe drinking water as the subsoil water is salty and unworthy of human consumption. The population of this town is estimated to be over 150,000.
Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Faryal Talpur is the MPA from this town and was elected as an MNA twice before she was replaced by PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari but nothing has been done so far to provide potable water to their voters.
The residents have been forced to procure water daily at Rs20 per gallon. Safe drinking water is procured like groceries and other essential food items. For large families the daily expenditure for potable water is Rs120 or more.
Those who cannot afford to pay for water such as labourers are forced to use contaminated water which leaves them susceptible to deadly stomach ailments, kidney failures and diseases like Hepatitis leaving their lives endangered.
A water supply scheme was approved during PPP's first term, at the cost of Rs120 million, and was inaugurated by Faryal Talpur but it could not be made functional for a single day.
Poor water management costs Pakistan dearly
It is alleged that there was corruption on a massive scale in the water supply scheme which was executed by the Sindh public health engineering department.
A substandard pipeline was used which broke when the water was released and flooded the roads. Two years later, another Rs20m were released for the scheme but instead of replacing the pipes, the relevant authorities repaired the pipes but the repairs did not work.
Besides, eight motors and a turbine were installed at the water supply scheme, established on Naudero-Ratodero Road, but soon four of those motors were stolen. Due to the lax attitude of the relevant authorities neither the motors nor the two pole mounted transformers which were also stolen from there have been recovered as yet. The cost of each motor was Rs500,000.
After repeated complaints and numerous media reports, the relevant authorities have recently taken notice and have reportedly released an amount of Rs5m to the Ratodero municipal committee to procure new motors and repair the pipelines. However, according to sources, the amount has been withdrawn but the work has not begun and the water scheme remains non-functional.
It is further alleged that water tanks, painted with the colours of the PPP flag, were constructed in ten localities of Ratodero on the advice of local PPP leaders. However, those tanks also remain dysfunctional and the majority of Ratedero's residents remain deprived of potable water.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 24th, 2019.
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