QUETTA: Hundreds of water purification plants have begun functioning in Balochistan in the wake of the National Accountability Bureau’s intervention following detection of mass corruption in the installation of the plants.
The anti-graft watchdog has recovered a sum of Rs23.75 million from one of the contractors, M/s GPBIDC (Pvt) Ltd Faisalabad and Public Health Engineering officials, in respect of substandard iron grill and civil works.
More than 409 water purification plants were to be installed in Balochistan as part of the Clean Drinking Water for All (CDWA) initiative launched by the federal government in year 2006-2007 at all union councils.
As part of the project, , however, the contractor in connivance with the Public Health Engineering Department officials carried out mass corruption by using substandard material and not adhering to the specifications mentioned in the scope of work.
Only 70 out of the 200 water plants installed in the province actually functioned. Thousands of people were thus deprived of clean drinking water.
An NAB team taking cognizance of a complaint visited Jaffarabad, Naseerabad, Sibi, Kohlu, Qillah Abdullah, Pishin and other districts to personally inspect the work on the ground.
During their inquiry into the scam, plenty of shortcomings were identified such as per PC-1 of the project Applied Membrane (USA) were to be installed whereas the contractor had installed Chinese-made membrane used for filtration of water.
Likewise PLC, water tanks, vessels, filtration media, central monitoring units were also not installed as per the specification of the project. Subsequently, the contractor was given timeline to replace the Chinese membrane with the applied membrane (USA).
Upon NAB pressure, the contractor replaced the Chinese membrane with applied membrane from the United States as per the PC-1.
Likewise, a total of 405 water plants were operationalised in line with the standard given in PC-1 of the project despite of lot of identified shortcomings.
The rectification work of over 300 plants and installation of four new plants was further contracted by the PHE department to another contractor who has been directed to complete the pending work as early as possible.
Published in The Express Tribune, June 30th, 2015.