The judicial commission on water and sanitation directed the federal and provincial governments to submit a progress report on resuming the remaining work of the Right Bank Outfall Drain (RBOD-II).
The proceedings of the commission, headed by Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro, were being conducted in light of the Supreme Court’s directives calling for the commission to continue holding hearings.
Sindh Advocate General Zamir Ghumro informed the commission that the Sindh government has approved Rs7 billion for restarting the remaining work on RBOD-II and that after the requisite funds are released the work will resume.
Secretary planning and development Shoaib Siddiqui maintained that the federal and provincial governments have been able to sort out differences in respect of their liabilities regarding the funds necessary for completing the project.
He submitted that the PC-I for approval and release of the requisite funds will be submitted shortly to the Central Development Working Party and the executive committee of the National Economic Council. He said that the remaining work could be restarted by the end of July 2017.
The commission directed the federal and provincial law officers, secretary planning and development to address the commission in terms of its directives regarding submission of a proposal containing a definite outline for resuming the remaining work, and bring on record if any progress has been made regarding the work.
AG Sindh also sought time to file replies on show cause notices issued by the commission to the chief secretary, secretary irrigation, Karachi Water and Sewerage Board managing director, Sindh Solid Waste Management Board managing director for not complying with SC’s directives.
Secretary industries, secretary public health engineering, secretary local government, Sindh Environmental Protection Agency director general, Water and Sanitation Agency Hyderabad’s director general have filed their respective replies over the notices. They submitted that the court’s directives were being implemented in letter and spirit.
The AG Sindh submitted that the respective departments were complying with the directives of the court; however, he sought further time for their implementation. It is pertinent to mention that the judicial commission had issued show cause notices to the officials seeking explanation as to why proceedings for wilful contempt of court orders should not be initiated against them.
The commission had taken exception over non-compliance of the apex court’s directives regarding rehabilitation of filtration plants, sewerage treatments plants in Karachi, effluents tests from industries and Karachi harbour.
Senior research officer of the Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources Dr Ghulam Murtaza sought time to submit water quality test reports. He observed that he visited the treatments plants at Nawabshah and Badin and found them complete in all aspects except that the plants have rendered useless owing to a shortage of power supply.
Secretary public health and engineering department sought time to submit a detailed reply on the report of the senior research officer. Dr Muraza also informed the commission that he also visited the laboratory established by the KWSB at Chilya which was also not functional due to a shortage of power supply. KWSB MD requested time to submit a report on the working of the laboratory at the next hearing.
The commission directed the Sindh AG to submit a report about the progress on implementatoin of laws, rules and regulations with respect to water hydrants being run by the KWSB on July 8.
Khurshid, Jamal. Judicial commission seeks progress report on RBOD-II’s remaining work. The News, July 3, 2017.