Karachi is experiencing an unprecedented water shortage. But the provincial government is maintaining a stony silence on such an important issue. Life is unthinkable without water. The K-1V water supply project, which was to augment supplies by 265 MGD, was to be completed by June this year. This deadline, like many other deadlines for government projects, has passed. The Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly, Firdous Shamim Naqvi, of the Pakistan Tehreek-Insaf, on June 30 took the provincial government to task by bringing up the issue of water shortage in Karachi. He claimed the K-1V project had been delayed due to frequent irregularities and changes made in its route to favour influential persons.
Naqvi’s allegations hold water when we recall the floods of 2010 and 2011. During those days floodwaters were turned away from lands and properties of influential persons in Sindh. Lands and properties of influential persons were saved at the cost of severe harm to those without influence. Naqvi claimed that numerous mistakes were made in the planning of the K-1V project and engineers held the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board and the provincial government responsible for these mistakes. He said Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah had promised that an additional 250 MGD water would be made available in June this year.
Naqvi’s assertion that the people of Karachi have no hope of getting additional water from K-1V in the next two to three years is worrisome. He said, “Work on the project remains at a standstill for the past one year for non-payment of share by the Sindh government.” The project is being funded by the federal and Sindh governments. He said the Sindh government ought to tell the people when the water scarcity would be overcome in the city. The Sindh government had reportedly asked, before the 2018 elections, the Frontier Works Organisation to complete the project before the polls. One does not need to explain this.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2019.
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