The Water and Sewerage Authority (Wasa) formally started its operations in Abbottabad on Saturday.
The move came after the Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA) and the Public Health Engineering departments handed their staff, services and property to Wasa at a ceremony at the new authority’s offices in Habibullah Colony.
WASA chairman Shahid Janjua and officials of the TMA and the Public Health Engineering department exchanged documents of an agreement.
Under the agreement, 300 employees of the Public Health Engineering department and the TMA working on sanitation and water supply system in the 10 union councils of Abbottabad, machinery, pipelines, tube wells, vehicles, and buildings are being handed over to Wasa.
As a result, Wasa will now take over sanitation duties such as collection of solid waste collection, disposal, cleanliness and water supply in the 10 UCs of Abbottabad.
Adviser to Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Chief Minister on Information Mushtaq Ghani said that the culture of nepotism and hiring of ineligible employees in the government departments had not only promoted corruption but also created obstacles in providing services to the general public. He added that such employees had developed a ‘mafia’ in government departments.
However, Ghani said that the incumbent government was hiring people on merit to improve services being provided to the public. In this regard, Ghani pointed towards the introduction of an autonomous system in health, education and municipal services such as Wasa in Peshawar and Abbottabad.
He promised that Wasa would be established in all divisional headquarters of the province soon. He thus asked Wasa officials to ensure the provision of effective services on merit to the people of Abbottabad.
Wasa had been set up in Abbottabad last year. However, its journey has not been smooth. Earlier this year, sanitary and water and supply workers from the TMA in Abbottabad and Havelian had gone on strike protesting over what they believed would put the jobs of hundreds of TMA workers at stake in addition to adding a heavy burden on the exchequer.
Instead, they were of the view that the government should invest the funds meant for Wasa in the TMA and Public Health Engineering Department since they had the capability of meeting requirements of Abbottabad’s residents better than Wasa.
However, the provincial government stuck to its guns, assuring workers of securing their jobs after handing over their services to Wasa.
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf MNA Dr Azhar Jadoon, Minister for Food Haji Qalandar Lodhi and Local Government Secretary Syed Jamaluddin Shah attended Saturday’s ceremony.
Reporter. Municipal services: WASA formally activated in Abbottabad. The Express Tribune, April 9, 2017.