Capital problem

Published: December 9, 2019

The precious resource – water – is depleting everywhere. Islamabad is hardly an exception. Development projects intended to harvest rainwater, replenish the aquifers and tackle water shortages have long failed to come to fruition. This has left residents to their own devices in order to come to grips with the water emergency. At the core of this crisis is the familiar culprit: funding crunch.

But a report in an English-language newspaper insinuates that part of the problem is man-made. The ‘artificial’ water crisis is the ‘result of corruption, mismanagement and a struggle for power between relevant government departments,’ claims the report. It quotes a senior journalist as asserting that water scarcity in Islamabad is a myth created by a corrupt management. He alleges the Capital Development Authority (CDA) and the police are behind creating an artificial water crisis. Behind this crisis is not some outside source, the report alleges, but a group of officers in the water management wing. Instead of facilitating residents, these water management officials adopt delaying tactics in supplying water so that the residents are ‘forced’ to order private water tankers.

The price of a private water tanker can vary from 2,000 rupees to 2,500 rupees in the summer and 1,000 rupees to 1,500 rupees in the winter. Many of these government officials have their own private water supply businesses, the journalist claims.

If the allegations contained in the report are true, this warrants a thorough investigation. If the interest of government officials is to line their own pockets, and not to serve the people they are supposed to serve, things are bound to get messed up. If private water supply businesses are owned by government servants, they cannot be expected to let water run in the people’s taps through official pipelines. The matter needs to be probed and the people given a much-needed respite.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 9th, 2019.

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