WASA to submit itself to new Walled City authority


Lahore: The Water and Sanitation Agency (WASA) shall soon be onboard the “Sustainable Development of the Walled City of Lahore” (SDWCL) project funded by the World Bank, Pakistan Today has learnt.
WASA is likely to sign a Memorandum of Partnership (MOP) with SDWC on November 15 with all WASA assets being transferred to the new municipal authority.
The SDWCL project was initiated in 2006 in partnership with Agha Khan Cultural Services with Rs 1.5 billion made available to restore and preserve the cultural heritage of the Walled City.
The projects’ aims include improve the urban infrastructure of the Walled City. The scope of the project includes roads, streets, parks, the power supply, water supply, and sewerage.
The project also aims to revamp tourist-related facilities (entertainment, cultural activities, parking spaces, security, residential facilities and eating places).
A temporary move: SDWCL Project Director Oriya Maqbool told Pakistan Today that the transfer of the Walled City’s sewerage and drainage system from WASA to SDWC was meant to temporary change the command infrastructure of utility services to bring them on modern lines.
Maqbool informed that all other utility services including PTCL, Sui Gas, LESCO, CDGL, LDA, PHA, TMA RAVI TOWN and TEPA are to enter into similar agreements with SDWC.
“We took possession of PTCL assets last month and shall do the same with WASA and the rest of the utilities,” he added.
‘Utilities transfer necessary’: SDWCL Infrastructure Specialist Khalid Javed said that the World Bank had approved the total layout of the project and a summary had been submitted to Punjab Planning and Development Department to get a go-ahead signal.
He said that sustainable development could never be achieved unless the infrastructure of civil utilities; especially WASA’s sewerage, drainage and storm waste lines were rehabilitated and overhauled on the demands of the digital age.
The MOP details: He informed that the WASA MD Javed Iqbal had sent a summary to LDA DG Umer Rasool to ink the MOP with the SDWCL Project Management Unit in couple of days.
Sections in the MOP state that all WASA lines shall be shifted underground. The MOP promises the improvement of the water supply system, replacement of above ground services lines (outlived and undersized), the rationalization and rearrangement of consumer connections and metering arrangements. It features rehabilitation of sewage disposal system and network of storm water drains.
The Standard Operating Instructions of MOP are that SDWCL PMU-is to finance and implement the project’s infrastructure components. It shall be their responsibility to prepare detailed and realistic estimates of cost of work, to engage contractors following a national competitive bidding procedure and pre-qualify and post-qualify firms for the physical execution of the project as agreed with the World Bank to execute the contract.
The MOP dictates that WASA is obligated to allow SDWCL PMU the statutory functions of constructing and developing the water supply and sewerage infrastructure in the Walled City. SDWCL PMU is scheduled to replace the existing system.
WASA is obligated to provide all technical information and to coordinate in the preparation of the design detail to ensure that all designs and specifications prepared aligned with the existing WASA system in the area. It will also provide the necessary technical support during the maintenance period of the contract for the fulfillment of contractual obligation of the PMU.
The MOP states that in the case of a technical, administrative or financial dispute in the administration or execution of the MOP between parties which was not resolved at operation level within a stipulated time period, the case will be brought to a committee comprising the PMU-SDWCL DG as chairperson, the WASA MD and AKTC-AKCSP Technical Director.
Restoring the Royal Trail: Communication Expert Taniya Qureshi said SDWCL’s pilot project to restore the Royal Trail (Shahi Guzar Gah) from Delhi Gate to Akbari Gate to the Lahore Fort shall continue.
The Royal Trail is the 1.6 km long street which was used by Mughal Emperors on arrival from Delhi, to reach the Badshahi Mosque, crossing the Walled City.
The Royal Trail, now a densely populated area, has housed historical monuments include the Shahi Hamam, Masjid Wazir Khan, Sonehri Mosque, Baoli Bagh, Maryam Zamani Mosque and many other buildings.
The WCL includes many outstanding landmark buildings, mosques, Sufi shrines, urban spaces and sites including the old city gates. Nearly 2000 buildings cut across the trail which are deemed to hold artistic and historical merit.