Sunday June 16, 2024

Wasa fails to improve water supply despite charging inflated bills

By Khalid Iqbal
October 02, 2023

Rawalpindi:The Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) has increased the maximum water tariff and poured down the extra financial burden on the public but has literally failed to improve the water supply system to provide any kind of relief to the consumers. It seems that the Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner, and other high-ranked officers were in deep slumber and did not see the difficulties of the poor public and the poor performance of Wasa for years.

The residents of Rawalpindi have demanded higher authorities to make some major changes in Wasa to save this important department otherwise this department will vanish completely due to some ‘corrupt’ elements in the department. The affected residents have also filed several applications against Wasa’s poor performance but in vain. Who will take action against Wasa's corrupt officials, God knows better, people bemoaned.

Wasa has come under fire for its failure to ensure water supply to over 80 per cent of residents of the city in which Adiala Road, Chakra, Girja Road, Shah Faisal Colony, Shah Khalid Colony, Morgah, Kota Kalaan, Dhoke Munshi, Fazal Town and several others were the most affected areas where tanker mafia with full backing of some corrupt government officers have been ruling the roost for years, thanks to corrupt mafia of Wasa which was fully backing the illegal water bowzers and hydrants business all around. The corrupt officers of Wasa were releasing supply water only one time in a month but only for 15 to 20 minutes, the residents of Adiala Road told ‘The News’ here on Sunday.

They also said that they were deprived of supply water for over a month because Wasa’s corrupt officers were punishing them. Some 15 days ago, the residents of Adiala Road, Munawar Colony, Saleha Street, and Defense Road strongly protested against Wasa's corrupt officers and demanded that the government take strict action against them for their poor performance because they were demanding ‘bribes’ to release supply water. The corrupt officers punished the public and stopped the water supply for over 15 days. The residents of Saleha Street, Munawar Colony, Adiala Road, and Defense Road were deprived of supply for over 15 days because they were being punished by Wasa’s corrupt officers despite the fact that they had paid extra bills.

The corrupt mafia was selling water rather than providing water and demanding a ‘bribe’ to continue supplying water, the residents of affected areas told ‘The News’ here on Sunday. Reliable sources said that Deputy Director (Water Supply) Sadoon Basra and Sub-Engineer (Water Supply) Ahmed Hussain posted in Rawalpindi from Lahore. Both officers were famous due to their corruption therefore higher authorities transferred them from Lahore. They were removed on public complaints against them, the sources said.

‘The News’ contacted Deputy Director (Water Supply) Sadoon Basra, Sub-Engineer (Water Supply) Ahmed Hussain, and Sub-Engineer (Water Supply) Muhammad Tuffail said that they were trying to provide supply water to consumers. Sub-Engineer (Water Supply) Muhammad Tuffail told ‘The News’ that Deputy Director (Water Supply) Sadoon Basra and Sub-Engineer (Water Supply) Ahmed Hussain transferred me because I did not agree to stop supplying water to consumers. “The area residents were facing the worst situation due to the absence of supply water,” he admitted.

The residents of Rawalpindi have appealed higher authorities to come forward to resolve water crisis issue. The district government, Rawalpindi has failed to stem the rise of private tankers mafia as well as commercial tube wells extracting groundwater with impunity resulting in dozens of illegal hydrants and tankers being run in the city which needed to be regularised by local administration. Wasa has failed to set a fixed schedule to supply water in all areas. Why, Wasa has failed to set a fixed schedule for supplying water? The corrupt officials of Wasa were demanding money from every area to open a supply of water those giving money could enjoy a supply of water others were not.

A tanker costs Rs3,000 to Rs3,500, and people who face water shortages in their respective areas have no option but to depend on these tankers to fulfill their water needs. However, the provision of water to the residents is the sole responsibility of Wasa in Rawalpindi, and the authority has failed to meet this duty due to some corrupt officers.

However, the rapid rise of these hydrants has nearly dried up groundwater sources. “Due to illegal hydrants, the whole area has dried up. It is unfair that a person is extracting the share of water meant for the whole area and selling it,” said consumers of affected localities. In light of a Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi order issued last year, the Rawalpindi district administration formed a committee to collect data about illegal hydrants and to ensure the supply of clean water to citizens at a reasonable price. However, the committee has not been notified.

The sources said that the district administration has completed the survey of the illegal hydrants under its administrative control and found more than 89 hydrants in the district. According to Wasa spokesman Umer Farooq Wasa completed the survey of the area and found 59 illegal water hydrations in the city areas which it would regularise. He said the district administration formed a committee to fix the rates of the water tanker charges. The official said the agency would ensure the quality of clean drinking water to the citizens through these hydrants.