The Sindh government has ordered an inquiry into an ongoing dispute between the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board and the Karachi Electric Supply Company that has left many localities of the city without water, leading to daily protests in many areas.
A notification issued by the provincial home department directed the Deputy Commissioner South, Jamal Mustafa Qazi, to conduct a “dispassionate and discreet inquiry” on KWSB complaints that “the prolonged power outages by KESC in various localities is causing colossal damages with diverse implications with the ultimate result that it is impacting the government’s image rather negatively.”
The notification pointed out that “what is even more appalling is the perception which the KESC is earning for itself: apparently all this is being done on purpose to disenchant the public and instigate it against the government.”
Similar sentiments echoed at a meeting held at Governor House on Sunday night to discuss prolonged load-shedding and the water crisis in the city.
Sources privy to the deliberations at the meeting told The Express Tribune that there was a harsh exchange of words between the Sindh chief secretary and KESC MD.
Chief Secretary Raja Muhammad Abbas, referring to earlier decisions reminded the MD that pumping stations were exempted from load shedding, but KESC was not honouring these decisions.
Abbas told the meeting that when, “we try to contact the KESC MD, he never attends my phone. He is not even responding to the phone calls of the chief minister, who is the chief executive of the province.” Reacting to the remarks, KESC chief Tabish Gohar retorted: “I am not bound to attend your phone calls.”
Expressing his displeasure, Governor Dr Ishratul Ebad, who presided over the meeting, is reported to have informed the officials that KESC was carrying out load-shedding on the water board’s installations despite the government’s instructions to the contrary.
He said that it was a serious matter and the whole city was suffering from a water shortage. The governor asked the chief secretary to order all the deputy commissioners to lodge cases against KESC officials if riots broke out as a result of a water shortage and prolonged power closures.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 17th, 2012.
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