KARACHI: The fields or empty spaces around 15 factories in Bin Qasim Town Industrial Area find themselves in the middle of pools of water that are leaking from a large bulk supply line. The water is perhaps worth 20 million rupees.
The factories spend Rs10,000 per tanker to buy commercial supplies of water with each industry ordering about 20 a day. And just because demand has gone up, the water tanker mafia has taken the liberty to rachet up prices from Rs3,500 to Rs10,000.
“This has been going on for the last 12 months,” said the public relations officer for the Bin Qasim Association of Trade and Industry (BQATI), Shamshad Alam. “The water board has time and again demanded we pay for repairs and maintenance but that runs into the millions of rupees.”
In particular, 190 units in the BQATI zone have been bearing the brunt of this infrastructure malfunction.
The problem is so bad that the patron-in-chief and founder president of the BQATI Mian Muhammad Ahmed had on August 16 approached the KWSB MD. He wrote about the water loss from the 54-inch bulk line and reminded him that many complaints have already been lodged.
For their part, Karachi Water and Sewage Board (KWSB) bulk distribution chief engineer for bulk water distribution, Iftikhar Ahmed, said that they are aware of the sitaution and are doing something about it. The real underlying problem though, seems to be that the water board is fed up with Bin Qasim town for not paying its bills on time. Misbahuddin Farid, the water board’s MD, told The Express Tribune that less than 2% of the town pays. “The entire area is stealing water through illegal water connections,” he added. “KWSB is going to launch a disconnection drive against illegal water connections, illegal water hydrants and against the defaulters.”
Sources in the water board’s main distribution system told The Express Tribune that the entire situation has been artificially created by one senior engineer who is linked to the hydrant mafia. It appears that the water board is aware of this problem as bulk supply manager Ahmed said that they were going to start disconnecting illegal water hydrants, especially those located in the vicinity of a famous car assembling company.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 22nd, 2011.