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Impending crisis: Commission hears water woes of people

The judicial commission on water supply and sanitation facilities heard the public complaints and visited water supply and drainage plants as well as the unauthorised disposal sites in Hyderabad on Thursday.

The Sindh High Court’s Justice Muhammad Iqbal Kalhoro, who heads the single-judge commission formed on the apex court’s order, also chaired a high level official meeting in the evening.

During the hearing, held in a SHC Hyderabad circuit bench’s courtroom, the commission was informed about an array of issues plaguing the water supply and environment of the city. Advocate Amjad Sehto claimed that improperly filtered water is being supplied to the residents.

A government official told the judge that in many parts of Hyderabad the water supply lines have been mixed with the sewage lines. The officials in their vague response maintained that a study is underway to identify such areas followed by a rehabilitation of the water supply lines.

Another official underlined that the financial health of Hyderabad Development Authority (HAD) and its subsidiary Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) does not allow any major overhaul of the system which required billions of rupees.

Another lawyer, Wali Muhammad Khoso, informed the court that a formerly fresh water distributary in Qasimabad has been turned into a putrid waste water nullah. The complaints about release of toxic industrial and domestic waste water in the Phuleli canal and River Indus as well as dumping and burning of solid waste in populated areas were also lodged.

The judge, accompanied by the officials, later visited Kotri Barrage, 30 million gallon per day filtration plant on Jamshoro Road, Phuleli Canal, an effluent treatment plant near Isra University and Darya Khan pumping station.

He questioned the filtration plant’s operators to explain why inadequately filtered water is being supplied to the city. The officials of Wasa cited under capacity of the plant in comparison to the water demand and constraining financial resources as the reason.

Later in the evening, Justice Kalhoro held a meeting in the SHC, which was attended by Hyderabad commissioner Qazi Shahid Pervez, Sindh Environment Protection Agency’s director general Naeem Ahmed Mughal and regional director Munir Abbassi, additional advocate general Allah Bachayo Soomro, representatives of the local bodies along with officials of HDA, WASA and other departments.

Advocate Shuhab Usto, in whose constitutional petition the apex court formed the commission, told The Express Tribune that the commission has passed many meaningful orders at the meeting.

The orders include ending release of toxic water in the waterways, disposal and burning of garbage in the populated areas by immediately acquiring a landfill site, removing encroachment from the canals and drainage system.

The installation of in-house effluent treatment plants in all the industries of SITE area and incineration plants for hospital waste are among other orders.

“Where have the billions of rupees spent on the development works gone? The responsibility has to be fixed,” said Justice Kalhoro in his remarks. He asked the bureaucracy to submit complete details of the funds allocated, released and utilised on the development schemes.

Reporter. Impending crisis: Commission hears water woes of people. The Express Tribune, January 20, 2017.

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