Exposing political recruitments, corruption and inefficiency in the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) on Friday, some lawmakers demanded that the corruption-marred board should be handed over to Rangers so that it could be purged of ghost workers and corrupt bureaucracy.
As per details, the Sindh Assembly discussed the issue of acute water shortage in Karachi on an adjournment motion of Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) lawmaker Muhammad Hussain Khan.
Khuram Sher Zaman of Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (PTI) said that water shortage in Karachi was not a new issue, however, both PPPP and MQM miserably failed to address the water shortage issue of the city whenever they remained in power. He asked why a political party that was making hue and cry on water shortage in Karachi did not mitigate the issue when it was at the helms of affairs. He said the main reason of the water shortage was that hundreds of big industries were stealing water through illegal connections from main water pipelines. He said the officials of KWSB were fully involved in this water theft and they were making millions. He asked why even low paid KWSB employees had lavish bungalows in the Defence Housing Authority. He alleged that a political party had full hold on the KWSB. He said if an investigation into the bank accounts and properties of KWSB men was conducted, it would tell you the real story.
He said even the funds for chlorination of water was being embezzled by the corrupt officers. He demanded that the KWSB should be handed over to the Sindh Rangers for just one month to purge it from corrupt and politicised officials.
Sorth Thebo of the PML-N also supported the demand to sack employees recruited in the KWSB on political recommendation and take action against corrupt officials. She said the funds saved by sacking the ghost employees should be used for betterment of the board. She said the chief minister of Punjab was serving the people of his province.
Syed Khalid Ahmed of the MQM said the government was not serious in ending water crisis in the city. He demanded to initiate work on S-3 and K-IV projects. He suggested that the water bills should be recovered automatically along with the electricity bills like the TV license fee is recovered automatically along with the electricity bills.
Samar Ali Khan of the PTI said the KWSB was a defaulter, corrupt, inefficient and politically influenced. He said it should immediately be handed over to the Sindh Rangers as a short-term solution and later privatised as a long-term solution. He said political factors were fully behind both land and water tanker mafias.
Shamim Mumtaz of the PPPP charged that the MQM was making politics on water because the local government elections were to be held soon. She said now they were blaming the KE. She asked which party was in power when the KESC was privatised. She said the PPPP had strongly protested against the privatization of the KSEC but it voice was not heard. She asked which party was in power when the illegal water connections were given. She said they remembered everything, so doing politics on Karachi water issue should be stopped.
Khawaja Izharul Hassan of the MQM said that the the minister of local government had broken illegal water hydrants but took no action against the illegal hydrant mafia. He supported that all ghost employees of the KWSB should be removed. He said the water leakages should be plugged. Funds should be released and tenders should be given contracts on merit. He said other provinces should also give grants to Karachi as it was a mini-Pakistan. He said if the control of KWSB was given to the opposition in Sindh Assembly under his supervision, he would correct everything in three months.
However, Minister for Local Government Sharjeel Inam Memon accepted there was mismanagement, corruption and ghost employees in the KWSB. He also accepted water theft through tanker mafia and illegal connections. He said a House Committee should be formed on the KWSB and he would give its total power to take any action. He said as a minister he was doing all that was possible to improve the working of KWSB, but conceded that it was an uphill task.