A Supreme Court-appointed commission on water-related issues on Monday threatened to impose a ban on the construction in Defence and Clifton Cantonment areas of the metropolis if the wastewater problem was not resolved, Geo News reported.
During a hearing on Monday under the one-man Supreme Court-appointed commission on water quality in Sindh headed by Justice (retd) Amir Hani Muslim, the defence ministry assured the Commission that wastewater from the commercial and business centres of Karachi’s Defence Housing Authority (DHA) locality would not be drained out into the sea anymore.
Joint Secretary Farooq Hassan, who represented the federal Ministry of Defence in the hearing, told the Commission that contaminated water would not be let out into the sea now.
In his remarks, Commission head Justice Muslim threatened to impose a ban on construction if he observes neglect in the implementation of the directives or is provided with the excuse of ambiguity over the determination of limits of the Cliffton and Defence localities.
The Commission also expressed displeasure at the ongoing shirking of responsibility — of draining out contaminated water into the sea — based on the ambiguity over the determination of limits of the Cliffton and Defence areas.
“There is no excuse to drain out contaminated water into the sea,” the Commission said, reiterating that if the orders were not heeded, a ban on construction would be imposed as a result.
‘Why water treatment plants were not installed?’
Earlier during the hearing, in response to a question about the number of residents in DHA, the director planning told the commission: “Over 500,000 people are currently residing in DHA.”
Remarking that the population shown to be residing in Karachi’s DHA is much lesser, Justice Muslim inquired as to how many business and commercial centres were in the area — which the DHA officials failed to provide.
The officials were then questioned as to where the sewerage water from commercial and business centres was dumped. To this, they replied, “We are working out a plan with Mehmoodabad Treatment Plant.”
Moving to responsibilities, Justice Muslim, upset over a lack of treatment plants, said: “First of all, there should be an inquiry as to why water treatment plants were not installed in the areas.”
As to how many gallons of untreated water were being dumped in the sea, the additional secretary Defence and DHA officials told Justice Muslim: “Annually, 580 million gallons of untreated water are dumped in the sea in Karachi.”
“We will not allow anyone to be careless on this matter,” he asserted, expressing hope that by June 2019, only treated water is dumped in the sea.
Further, based on the complaints from citizens in the city’s Central District, the Commission directed Syed Asif Ali Haider Shah, the focal person, to listen to the people’s grievances.
An additional direction was also issued to conduct an inquiry into the laying of a water pipeline from Nazimabad to Kati Pahari in Central District.
Asif Shah, the focal person, was tasked to monitor this as well.
Moreover, the cantonment board was directed to install water metres in order to make the water supply efficient and closed-circuit television (CCTV) cameras to monitor it.
Previously, complaints had been lodged in the Commission against the Central District’s deputy commissioner, saying he was facilitating illegal connections.
The next hearing is slated for June 11.