Water crisis: Wasa trying patience of Madina Town residents

Area has been without water for past month.


Muzaffar Mukhtar July 20, 2014

RAWALPINDI:


The residents of Madina Town, Shamsabaad have been surviving without running water for the past month. In spite of the hot weather conditions and the ongoing month of fasting, the authorities seem least concerned with resolving the issue.


Hamad Sarfraz Opel, a resident of the area, told The Express Tribune that they were without any water for the past one month and had been clamouring for the resolution of the issue in vain. He said that the tube well, which was providing water to the area, went out of order a month ago.

Opel said that the tube well was installed 30-to-35 years ago. He said local people had approached the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa), but no attention was given to their repeated requests. “The Wasa authorities started making excuses and said that the installation of a new tube well was a lengthy and expensive process which required time,” Opel told.

He said that the residents approached MPA Raja Hanif, who belongs to the ruling PML-Nawaz, for help. Opel said that Hanif told them that he had gotten a grant for a tube well approved from the government. Opel said that Wasa was not serious in installing the tube well on an urgent basis despite Rs500,000 been earmarked by the government for the project.

He said that it was decided that water would be supplied from alternative water supply lines passing near the area, until the installation of the tube well was completed. Opel claimed that Wasa backed out of supplying water through alternative lines under pressure from some influential persons who feared that they would get reduced supply if the water was diverted. He added that the residents were left with no other option but to buy water for their daily use.

Ghulam Mustafa, another resident, said that the people of the area had been complaining to the Wasa authorities on a regular basis but to no avail.

He said that the area was in the constituency (NA-56) of Imran Khan, the leader of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), but they did not know how to contact him. Mustafa said that neither Raja Hanif Abbasi who was the runner-up, nor Imran Khan, who won the seat, came to their help. “When Khan cannot change the situation in his own constituency, then how can he promise bringing change in the entire country,” he asked.

Javid Iqbal, another resident of the area said that in the month of Ramazan they did not even have water to perform ablution. He said that Wasa’s water tankers never came in time and the people had to wait for 5-6 days even after lodging several complaints. Iqbal said that the people were now compelled to purchase water from private water supplier companies at a higher rate.

Muhammas Saleem, another resident, said that the behaviour of the authorities concerned was unjust. “We are being forced to pay Rs1,200 for a water tanker every day,” he added.

Wasa Managing Director Raja Shoukat Mehmood told The Express Tribune that the problem began after the tube well dried up.

He said that the government had not released any funds for the project up until now.

Mehmood said that Wasa had started installing the tube well in the area from its own resources without any help from the government. He claimed that they had shifted the machinery to the site and work was going on at a fast pace.

Mehmood added that the installation would be completed soon. The managing director said that he even cancelled leave for the team working there so that the tube well could be installed within the least possible time. He also said Wasa was working on connecting alternative pipelines to the area in order to temporarily provide water. Mehmood conceded that it took five to six days for the tankers to deliver water due to the burden of work in the city.

The contractor for the project, Muhammad Zahoor Ahmad, told The Express Tribune that they had almost completed 70-80 per cent of the work on connecting alternative water pipelines to the area and soon the water supply would be restored. He said that the installation of the tube well would also be completed soon.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 20th, 2014.

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