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September 19, 2018

Non-functional sewage treatment plants: PHC terms NAB inquiry unsatisfactory


September 19, 2018

PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) on Tuesday declared the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Khyber Pakhtunkhwa inquiry into the non-functional sewage treatment plants in Peshawar unsatisfactory.

The PHC again directed the NAB KP to perform its job vigilantly to hold delinquent officials responsible for wasting millions of rupees on the plants.

A division bench comprising Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan and Justice Muhammad Ayub Khan also directed secretary Local Government to cooperate with the NAB in the provision of record of the sewage treatment plants since 1993.

As per the NAB’s inquiry report in one non-functional treatment plant Rs38 million had been spent only on civil work without installation of the machinery. The installed machinery has become out of order.

“Officials of the Local Government and WSSP [Water and Sanitation Services Peshawar] are not providing a record of the treatment plants as the record had been washed out,” the NAB’s inquiry officer informed the bench. The NAB also stated that the nearby areas had been turned into the residential area due to non-functioning of the plants.

The NAB’s prosecutor Saeed Khan submitted before the bench that all the relevant departments are now denying possession of the treatment plants.

During the course of the hearing, Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan observed that the NAB was after the assets of people abroad but here the bureau had turned a blind eye to the wastage of billions of rupees of the exchequer.

He asked the NAB’s investigation officer to find out where the millions of rupees had gone when the treatment plants were not functional.

Justice Qaiser Rashid Khan questioned the role of WSSP and Peshawar Development Authority and observed that the waste was everywhere in the city. “This is not the job of the WSSP to only remove Eidul Azha filth from roads and make publicity. During rains, the roads of the city present the view of floods, especially outside of the KP Assembly,” the judge remarked, adding that if the situation had not improved, why the CEO of WSSP was getting such a huge salary for the exchequer.

The bench was hearing two cases one filed by Hammad Yousafzai through his lawyer Shoaib Jali against environmental pollution in the city. The lawyer said it was revealed recently in the World Health Organisation (WHO) report that Peshawar was the second most polluted city out of 1,600 cities in the world.

The bench fixed October 23 for the next hearing into the case. Additional Advocate General, Syed Sikandar Shah appeared in the case on behalf of the provincial government.

In the second case about the establishment of a dumping site for solid waste in the city, Human Resource Manager of the WSSP submitted the progress report. He stated that a dumping site comprising 819 kanal of land had been acquired near Shamshatu camp for solid waste disposal in the city.

The official submitted that the dumping site was functional and recycling of solid waste would also be started soon there in the dumping site.

The bench fixed November 6 for the hearing into the case. The second case was filed by a lawyer Malik Misraf against the dumping of solid waste by the WSSP near a residential area in the city, which had become a source of various infectious diseases.

Only one of the four sewage treatment plants established 20 years ago in Peshawar is functional, while the other three have been lying abandoned.

Currently, the market value of the land of the sewage treatment plants was in billions, but it couldn’t be utilised for the purpose it was acquired.

As per the information, the sewage plants were established in 1993 by the Project Management Unit, which was formed for execution of the plan to treat sewage water before being thrown into Kabul River and local canals.

The four sewage plants are located on the periphery areas of the city, including Ring Road, Charsadda Road, and Warsak Road and in Hayatabad. Only the sewage plant established on Warsak Road is currently operational.

The establishment of these sewage plants was funded by the Asian Development Bank. An official said that the ADB had completed the project at a cost of around Rs120 million.

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