KARACHI: The Sindh government is to receive a sum of Rs409.759 million as the charges for extraction of underground water for a period of over two months from ten bottled water and cold beverages companies in the province.
This was discussed in a meeting on Tuesday with the Sindh Chief Secretary Mumtaz Ali Shah in chair, on the issue of collection of charges from the companies as per the decision of the Supreme Court (SC).
The underground water extraction charges are payable to the Sindh government for a period of 76 days from December 12, 2018 to February 20, 2019.
The meeting was informed that ten big companies in the business of bottled water and beverages in Sindh have been extracting 5,390,822 litres of underground water on a daily basis.
The chief secretary said that the deputy commissioners, Sindh Local Government Department, and Sindh Environmental Protection Agency (SEPA) would collectively collect these charges for extracting underground water in the province for commercial gains.
Shah also directed the officials that each one of the companies engaged in the business was supposed to plant 10,000 tree saplings at suitable places and sites in the province for the upkeep of the environment.
He said that functioning of the Sindh Food Authority (SFA) was beefing up so that it could evolve a system of check and balance over these companies extracting underground water in the province.
He said that a laboratory would be established at the University of Karachi for proper scientific analysis of the food samples to be collected by the SFA for checking quality of food services and items being sold in the province.
The meeting decided that the local government would prepare a draft law, which will later be passed by Sindh Assembly, for regulating affairs related to taxation on extraction of underground water for commercial gains. At present only Balochistan government has prepared such a law.
The officials of SFA, SEPA, and convener of the committee constituted by SC Professor Ahsan Siddiqui attended the meeting.