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November 23, 2018

Wasa still awaiting funds to overcome financial crunch

Islamabad

November 23, 2018

Rawalpindi : Due to non release of funds by the Punjab government under subsidy, the financial state in Water and Sanitation Agency has worsen further as the management besides failing to pay monthly salaries to employees is also finding hard to meet expenditure in smooth way.

The employees according to them have yet not received salary of October, 2018 till this date creating great tension and state of unrest among them.

Similarly, there is great possibility of disconnection of electric supply of tube wells by Iesco authorities in coming days if Wasa fails to clear power tariff and its dues touching to the tune of Rs135 million as told by high officials on anonymity condition. If the supply of electricity to tube wells is disconnected due to non payment of bills and power dues then the problem of water shortage in all 46 wards is likely to occur and the residents would suffer badly with the non provision of this facility despite payment of water tariffs to this water agency.

As the issue of non payment of salaries aroused, the managing director, Wasa, Raja Shoukat Mahmood as well as representatives of Wasa Workers Union held a meeting last week i.e. on Tuesday with the Commissioner Rawalpindi, Jodat Ayaz who had assured the matter of release of funds to the agency by the Punjab government in four to five days. However, more than a week has elapsed the funds have yet not been released yet to Wasa enabling it to pay emoluments to its employees besides clearing other dues particularly electricity.

According to officials, after the taking of power, the Punjab government has yet to release funds to Wasa under annual subsidy due to which a state of financial crunch has erupted in the organization which has never been witnessed since this water agency has been established some 20 years back.

More interestingly, Wasa over the last 11 years on the directions of the then Punjab government of PML-N has not enhanced the charges of water tariffs which have further complicated its financial situation. Since the last two years as stated by the officials, Wasa is already facing annual deficit of Rs1.3 billion. In order to cover up over all finance problem, Wasa has also demanded off a bailout package of Rs770 million from the Punjab government besides release of other funds under annual subsidy which is worth Rs200 million.

On approaching the official spokesman to Wasa, Umar Farooq refused to comment over the matter. He asked this correspondent to approach Managing Director, Raja Shoukat Mahmood who he said is the right person to give statement.

Though Managing Director, Raja Shoukat was not available on cells whenever his number tried, however, couple of days , he himself had acknowledged that state of financial crunch exist in Wasa and its employees have yet to be paid their monthly salary of October. Moreover, Wasa has to clear outstanding dues of electricity tariff to Iesco, which is agreed is to the tune of Rs135 millions. Payment of fresh bills of power tariff is also another which is pending due to non release of funds. He expressed his belief that the bailout package demanded by Wasa would be paid by the Punjab government in near future and it would also release the subsidy fund at the earliest which would normalize financial state of Wasa.

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