Lower Gizri gets water after months of chaos

Shahzad Jillani July 06, 2010

KARACHI: Months of protests by residents and shopkeepers in Gizri ended on Tuesday when the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) finally completed construction work on one side of Gizri Avenue and turned on the taps that supply water to the Lower Gizri area.

The new water line, which courses its way through Zamzama near the Do Talwar roundabout and curved towards Gizri from the Zamzama-Gizri intersection, was made functional after months of construction that had caused immense difficulties for cars using one side of the avenue to go back and forth.

“The water line was made to pass through Zamzama as it was the only way to approach the KWSB pumping station near Do Talwar,” CBC chief operating officer Muhammed Hayat Mahr told The Express Tribune. KWSB initiated the project after obtaining permission from the Cantonment Board Clifton (CBC) to cut the road. It had to pay CBC for repair work as well as the carpeting of the dug-up roads. Mahr, however, refused to disclose the amount paid by KWSB, saying that he did not remember the sum and would have to check reports before commenting.

“The old water line had to be replaced by a new one after residents of DHA started using suction machines, depriving residents of water near the Marwat Hospital area,” revealed a KWSB official, who declined to disclose the overall expenditure on the project. KWSB paid an amount of Rs7 million to the CBC for road cutting. Now it is the responsibility of the CBC to repair roads, he said.

The project was the brainchild of Najmi Alam, an MPA who had allocated development funds to KWSB for the water line, through which water is to be supplied to areas on the basis of water schemes and local associations. Karamullah Waqasi was awarded the contract to lay the water line.

Muhammed Khan, a member of a resident association in Gizri, said that the project was approved wtih the consent of the residents, who had no reason to create such a fuss now.

‘Karachi short of 150m  gallons of water a day’

The city is provided with 650 million gallons of water daily, but its residents require 800 million gallons per day, said Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) managing director Sajjad Husain Abbasi explaining why there is a shortage.

Illegal water connections are a major problem for the board as water from illegally set up hydrants by a powerful mafia, said Abbasi, reports PPI. To make matters worse, more than 250,000 consumers haven’t paid their bills.

Despite facing financial problems as well as issues with its distribution system, the board is trying to overcome the shortage and distribute water to all areas across the city, Abbasi told representatives of the Korangi Association of Trade and Industry (Kati).

KWSB has procured water meters, which will be set up at all areas receiving the bulk supply system, said Abbasi. Korangi Industrial Area Sector 7-A will be added on but Kati will have to manage the supply of water to its members through an independent system. He asked the chief of Kati to nominate a three-member committee that could bring up their day-to-day problems with the water board.

Korangi Industrial Area faces an acute shortage even though it pays Rs300 million in taxes to the government.

Kati also demanded KWSB install bulk water meters, repair sewerage lines, supply water for at least 12 hours a day instead of seven hours, do away with average billing and ensure that water is suppled to the “tail-end areas”.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 7th, 2010.


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