Tube well power cuts spark water crisis

400 tube wells taken off grid over non-payment of dues

Yawar Hayat May 30, 2023


The closure of 400 tube wells, after they were taken off-grid by officials of the Water and Power Development Authority (WAPDA) over non-payment of dues, has exacerbated the drinking water crisis in the city, making it extremely difficult for the citizens to cope with the prevalent hot weather conditions.

Sources said the disconnection of electricity connections to 400 tube wells of the Public Health Engineering Department, used to supply drinking water to the urban households, has intensified the problem of shortage of potable water in the city as well as its adjacent villages in the last couple of days.

Much to the dismay of locals, the elected members of the national and provincial assemblies from the area have surprisingly maintained complete silence over the burning issue thus far.

Imran Alizai, a local leader of Jamaat-e-Islami, and others while talking to The Express Tribune said dozens of communities across the city are portraying the scene of Karbala, a reference from the Islamic history in which Hussain (RA), grandson of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), and his family members were martyred while fighting off the evil forces after suffering from thirst.

They said the suspension of so many tube wells has led to a plethora of issues. “Even in schools, children are not getting water,” they lamented and added that not only the government but the opposition leaders were also brazenly silent over the alarming situation.

They said the supply of drinking water has been scarce for the last three days and the citizens in their struggle to get water are forced to purchase water tankers at inflated rates, all thanks to the opportunist tanker mafia.

“The tanker mafia has increased the rates of a single water tanker from Rs2,000 to Rs3,000,” they said.

Citizens said, during an operation in PK-41 constituency, WAPDA and PESCO officials cut off the connections of tube wells of several villages of Hattar, Ghazi, Sirikot, Sarai Saleh and Khalabat township areas.

“The officials took away the transformer links along with them, creating a self-inflicted crisis of clean drinking water in the constituency,” they said.

“Haripur is the province’s highest revenue generating district and yet the Town Municipal Administration (TMA) does not have the money to pay WAPDA dues,” they said.

According to WAPDA authorities, the TMA’s pending electricity dues are worth Rs900 million. “Several notices were sent to the TMA but the payment was not made and for this reason, the power supply to the tube wells has been disconnected,” they explained.

The office of the deputy commissioner also contacted the finance and public health secretaries and requested the release of funds to the Public Health Department for immediate payment of arrears to WAPDA so that consumers may not face further water shortages this summer.

Meanwhile, to relieve the people of the whole district from the precarious situation, a delegation of Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam Haripur met the public health advisor and informed him about the closure of tube wells for the last three days in the district.

The delegation apprised the provincial advisor of the hardships being faced by the public due to the serious water crisis in these areas and requested an immediate solution to the grave problem. Later, the citizens said, the delegation along with the provincial advisor held a meeting with the public health secretary.

“We are grateful to the JUI leaders who, realising the serious water crisis and public hardships, immediately reached Peshawar to fulfil their responsibility. Our prayers and best wishes are with them,” the citizens said. When contacted, Tehsil Chairman Sami Khan, said he has written several letters to the provincial authority for the required funding “but they [the provincial authorities] are not giving any response”.


Published in The Express Tribune, May 30th, 2023.


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