Opposition party lawmakers based in Karachi raised the issue of the severe water crisis faced by not only the city’s residents but also those in the rural areas of Sindh.
Some members of the Provincial Assembly (MPAs) stated that although the provincial government had claimed to be successful in providing water to these regions, people in several districts of the province had to travel miles, on foot mostly, to get clean and safe drinking water.
The Pakistan Muslim League-N’s MPA Syed Ameer Hyder Shah commented on the dire condition of Thatta and said that:
Thatta was once the capital of this province but unfortunately no one takes notice of the water crisis there.
He further stated that it has been added in the budget to give water from Dhabeji to Thatta, Gharo, and Gujjo towns but the scheme still exists merely on paper.
Furthermore, water from Keenjhar Lake, near the city of Thatta, is supplying water mostly to Karachi but “no concrete measures have been taken in our areas where water has now become a rare commodity.”
15 Day Water Storage Needed
Even a member of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM), Sabir Qaimkhani, spoke up against this issue that residents of Hyderabad face too. According to him, the government needs to keep a store of at least fifteen days worth of water to be able to cope with emergency situations.
However, the government has not done that and worse still, it releases only four million gallons of water a day when actually hundred million gallons are needed. That would be the case though since the “municipality only has the capacity for storing sixty million” gallons for storage purposes.
Another member of the MQM, Kamran Akhtar, also talked about this problem in his own constituency in District West of the city. He accused the government of not living up to their promise of their resolving the water crisis and had left the people to suffer without a basic necessity.
Pumping Stations to Blame for Loadshedding
On the government side, Government Minister Jam Khan Shoro blames the onset of water crisis due to the long hours of load shedding faced by the pumping stations which could then not distribute water to the required areas in the required amounts. He further claimed that his own political party is protesting against the sixteen to twenty hours of load-shedding which has made people’s lives doubly miserable.
“I request all opposition members to help us in this cause because the entire Sindh is suffering from water and power crisis,” he said.
According to Shoro, the government had already taken extreme steps to curtail the water crisis in the province, especially in the major cities or industrial areas like Karachi and Hyderabad. The Minister also added that new water lines are being constructed for Karachi and Hyderabad.
We have given the K-IV scheme for Karachi, which will be completed by 2018 and the government will include a mega drinking water project for Hyderabad city in the upcoming budget.
Illegal Hydrant Use
Opposition parties were also blamed by Shoro for their use and encouragement of illegal hydrants. He indirectly pointed fingers at a few influential people in the political sphere by saying that “illegal hydrants have been a big cause of water scarcity in Karachi and a few political parties and influential people were also running these illegal hydrants, which have not been demolished”.
The Minister did not reveal any party’s name but did say that everyone was aware of who was in charge of the illegal hydrant near the Garden area of Karachi. These hydrants will be removed from the city completely after the implementation of the K-IV scheme.
The Provincial Assembly was also notified by the Health Minister, Dr. Sikandar Mandhro, in a question and answer session that nearly twenty-one health centers are closed in the province. However, this is not due to mismanagement but rather some staff requirement not having been finalized and other centers still being under construction.
The MPA from Pakistan Muslim League – Functional, Akbar Rashdi, also spoke about posting headmasters and also informed the assembly of the fact that many applicants had already passed the test from the Institute of Business Administration and were now waiting for their orders. On this matter, the Education Minister was quick to reassure the MPA that the matter would be sorted out in a couple of days.
Some members of the assembly also raised the issue about growers not being able to get wheat bags issued by the government also known as “bardana”.