The Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) has failed to shut all illegal hydrants in the city due to the backing of certain KWSB officials and a powerful political mafia, The Express Tribune has learnt.
KWSB deputy managing director of technical services Najmi Alam admitted that the department doesn’t have the required resources to close down all illegal connections, as most of the connections are backed by a political mafia as well as the involvement of KWSB officials and the non-cooperation of law enforcement agencies.
“Keeping in mind the fact that illegal suction motors are a major cause of the water shortage in the city, depriving citizens of 30 million gallons per day (MGD), the board, with its limited resources, continues its drive but without a lot of success,” he added.
While the water board managed to close down most of the illegal hydrants in district East, West and Malir, Alam accepted that some of them have become operational again and residents of the respective areas now face the same problem. However, he was confident that a continued operation will help ensure a smooth supply of water to all areas of the city.
Alam further added that Karachi is being provided only 30MGD of water from the Hub Dam instead of the usual 100MGD. “Due to this, we are being forced to provide water in different areas of the city on alternate days and the theft of water is exacerbating the issue.”
Alam claimed that in many areas, the water mafia is providing water through illegal connections in the KWSB network, misguiding residents by claiming that the water was procured through underground boring.
KWSB managing director Qutubuddin Shaikh directed the department to take action against all illegal water connections in the metropolis. Chairing a meeting in his office about the water shortage in the city, he directed the deputy managing directors of the technical services and revenue departments and the connection chief engineer to take action against illegal water connections.
“Due to the negligence of the department, people not only steal water but also damage water supply lines at the National Highway and the Super Highway,” he added. “The officials of the distribution and bulk departments need to coordinate with each other for the preparation of an updated list of illegal hydrants operating in the city. Along with providing water to its residents, the board is also responsible for the elimination of all illegal water hydrants in the city.”
Shaikh stressed the need to implement strict policies and measures against the water tanker mafia of the city, proposing fixed uniforms prices for all legal water hydrants as one of the possible options.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 12th, 2014.