WASA financial plan: Development ignored in Rs771m budget

Officials cite lack of funds as the major reason behind lack of new schemes.


Mudassir Raja July 09, 2011

RAWALPINDI:


No new development schemes are part of the Rs771 million budget prepared by Water & Sanitation Agency (Wasa) Rawalpindi for the next fiscal year.


According to the official budget document made available to The Express Tribune, Wasa cited shortage of finances for the lack for new development projects.

A major chunk of the budget is being allocated to running expenditures. The agency has set aside more than Rs300 million for salaries and running expenditures and Rs16 million for paying electricity bills. Most of the remaining budget is being allocated for the operation and
maintenance of more than 250 tube wells operating in the city.

Official sources said that Wasa is given Rs25 million from the annual development project every year, for projects such as improving water supply and better sewage system. The agency generates most of its funds from water charges. Currently, Wasa charges Rs98 from each five-marla house. The tariff is higher for bigger houses.

The agency has more than 100,000 consumers, 70 per cent of which are domestic while the rest are commercial enterprises.

The official added last year Wasa decided to increase tariff to generate extra revenue, but had to withdraw its decision after Punjab government intervened, which is unfortunate because the agency has to spend a lot of its income on the maintenance of over 150 filtration plants installed in the city. No water charges are paid to Wasa for supplying water to these plants or maintaining them, he said.

Moreover, for the last many years, Wasa Rawalpindi has not been paid its share from the annual provincial finance commission, which is another reason for the financial strains on the agency, a senior official said.

The annual budget of the agency will be passed after its Managing Director Chaudhry Naseer Ahmed returns from abroad in a few days, an official said.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 9th, 2011.

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