LAHORE: Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) has started placing manhole covers made of fiberglass to stop their theft and save precious lives in the provincial capital. The new fiberglass manhole covers are of zero scrap value, said Wasa Managing Director Syed Zahid Aziz while chairing a meeting at his office on Wednesday.
The Wasa MD said that when he was Faisalabad Wasa MD, he had introduced fiberglass manhole covers, and for the last five years not a single fiberglass manhole cover in Faisalabad had been stolen.
The meeting was called to officer condolence on the death of a minor by falling in an open manhole at Tajpura as well as to fix responsibility on the Wasa officials concerned. The Wasa MD warned all the directors of strict action in case similar incident occurred in their jurisdictions in future. He directed all the directors to monitor their areas and bound every XEN and SDO to sign a daily report regarding missing manhole covers in their areas.
He told the meeting that the project of new fiberglass manhole covers was funded by World Bank, which appreciated Wasa for the innovative solution to save precious human lives in the provincial metropolis.
World Bank provides funds for the project under the Punjab Cities Governance Maintenance Project, the MD said. “A single manhole cover with frame is a heavy weight iron material and can be sold for thousands of rupees. Usually, drug addicts and small thieves steal manhole covers with their frames and sell them to scrap dealers at the rate of iron,” he said adding, “Theft of manhole covers is an international phenomenon and the practice can be witnessed in several mega cities such as Chicago, Mumbai, etc.” MD said that the only solution to theft of manhole covers was its replacement with a zero scrap value item, and many modern cities have adopted various innovations in this regard. Wasa has imported around 2,000 sets (manhole covers with frames), which will be placed where the covers are missing.