Lahore to induct smart water meters

Agreement signed with Chinese consortium under public-private partnership


Our Correspondent March 16, 2022

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LAHORE:

The Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) signed an agreement with the Xiang Lahore Water Metering Company to install 711,000 smart meters in the provincial capital under public-private partnership.

Addressing the ceremony as the chief guest, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar said the company would install 93 per cent domestic and 7% commercial water consumption smart meters along with their maintenance for 10 years.

There would be no need to go from house to house to take readings of the meters, he noted.

This would increase revenue along with saving precious water, he added.

Meanwhile, a local assembling plant of the smart water meters would create opportunities of employment and technology transfer; he said.

The chief minister termed the project one of its kind in the country, adding that it would be extended to other cities. Provincial Housing Minister Malik Asad Khokhar, chief secretary, Planning and Development Board chairman, housing secretary and officials of WASA and the Chinese company were present.

Punjab government spokesperson Hasaan Khawar said the installation of the meters under public-private partnership with a consortium of three Chinese firms would help reduce the rapid decline of the water table, while also economically benefitting the consumers and WASA.

The move will result in reduction of bills for consumers, containment of leakage and saving about Rs460 million in WASA’s annual electricity bills, he told the media at the office of Punjab Public Private Partnership Authority.

“We are committed to completing public welfare projects through private investment while spending resources only where they are needed the most,” he said.

Hasaan Khawar said several projects worth Rs191 billion were in the pipeline in Punjab under public-private partnership.

He said the provincial government had introduced measures to facilitate private investors in Punjab through an Investment Facilitation Centre, Special Economic Zones and a zero-NOC (no-objection certificate) regime.

Such initiatives were previously thought of only in developed countries, he added.

WASA Vice Chairman Sheikh Imtiaz and Punjab Public Private Partnership Authority Chief Executive Officer Amjad Awan were also present on the occasion.

Replying to questions, the spokesperson said the opposition leaders had over the past several decades created ‘dictatorship’ in the name of democracy in which there was no room for dissent.

He asserted that Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) was the first democratic party which promoted self-accountability and spoke openly on ideas and issues instead of individuals.

Hasaan Khawar said the government would not allow “horse trading” in the country like the 1990s.

He said the previous rulers had left dilapidated government dispensaries for the masses while they themselves were getting treatment from London. On the other hand, Prime Minister Imran Khan had given a revolutionary gift like the health card to the people, he added.

He said the prime minister’s approach of public welfare was behind the initiatives like construction of the Basha, Dasu and Mohmand dams as well as the Ehsaas programmes for ration and other facilities.

He said in reply to a question that Jahangir Tareen and other leaders were and still supporting the PTI.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 16th, 2022.

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