A water connection costs just Rs 2,000 in Shah Latif Town

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Illegal water connections are thriving in Shah Latif Town, as the Malir Development Authority (MDA) and the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) have not installed a single water connection since 1988; whereas, the police officials concerned express ignorance on the issue. On a visit to several developing blocks in Shah Latif Town, Pakistan Today learnt that a large population comprising different ethnicities are living in the area but devoid of facilities.
A large number of people stood at the main road of entrance in 20-B from the National Highway. Except for the main road, there were no proper streets and as a motorcyclist crossed, a cloud of dust followed his vehicle. Speaking to Pakistan Today, a resident of Shah Latif Town Block 20-C – a policeman requesting anonymity – said the MDA and the KWSB have not installed a single water connection since 1988 and the locals are compelled to fulfil their needs by setting up illegal water connections.
Another resident said that out of more than 300 houses constructed in the 20-C block, none of the houses has a legal water connection. “For the last two months, a man named Rashid Bangash, claiming to be a KWSB contractor, has been providing [water] connections for Rs 2,000 to the houses,” he added. With construction work in full swing and only five shops in the area, the residents are also irked by lack of facilities and authorities’ apathy.
Nadeem – a resident of Block 20-B – said that even for purchasing groceries, a majority of people have to go to Quaidabad, which is around 5 km away from the area. “I purchased a plot of 80 square yards for only Rs 43,000 in 2001, which was quite cheap going by the property rates prevalent in Karachi at that time, but the MDA has still to provide us with facilities,” he added.
A majority of inhabitants are illiterate and work as labourers in the metropolis. They are unaware of their legal rights but the land grabber mafia also runs rampant in the town. On every 15 to 20 yard, there are around five to eight illegal water connections. Another resident named Rafique told Pakistan Today that about 45 days ago, contractor Bangash provided a water connection to his house for Rs 2,000, but still he had not received any bill from the KWSB.
“When I asked him about my water bill, he replied that the bill will be issued after six months,” he added.
When contacted, the KWSB officials refrained from commenting on the issue but KWSB Chief Engineer Najam Alam said that illegal water connections and water distribution of Shah Latif Town came under the domain of the MDA.
The MDA officials, however, did not respond despite being approached several times. Shah Latif Police Station Duty Officer Mehar Ali expressed his ignorance on the question of illegal water connections in the limits of the police station. “I have never seen any illegal [water] connections in the surroundings of our station. If you want to know about them, you can ask the KWSB or the MDA,” he said.
Shah Latif Station House Officer Huzoor Bux Solangi said that action is only taken when the authorities concerned [the KWSB or the MDA] complains; ‘otherwise it’s not our headache.’