(PKONWEB News Monitor) — The Sindh Finance Department has admitted that Rs 10 billion (US$95 million) has so far been spent on 18 Reverse Osmosis (RO) water filtration plants for two areas – Keamari and Lyari – from 2010 to December 2017.
Official report of the department revealed that Pak Oasis Company had been paid this amount for installation, operation and maintenance to-date.
Of them, seven RO plants have not been in working condition since long.
The 18 plants were installed to cater drinking water needs of around 1.8 million people in these low-income areas considered traditional stronghold of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).
Meanwhile, the federal anti-corruption watchdog National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has revealed that an inquiry into misappropriation of funds is pending due to some obstacles.
Also, the annual audit report submitted by auditor director general revealed that the installation process was not up to the mark, incurring a loss of millions of rupees to the government.
The report suggested that the current installation policy for RO plants and their maintenance and operation should be re-examined, as quality of water being supplied from the plants was not up to the recommended standards of the World Health Organization (WHO).
“The policy of awarding contract of RO plants may be made more transparent and there should be a module of water quality checking at each RO plant through credible laboratory process,” it was suggested.
It is pertinent to mention here that around Rs 22.45 billion has so far been siphoned in waste on setting up 2,000 RO plants under three-phase project in Sindh, including Karachi, in the past six years.
Former Local Government Department (LGD) minister Awais Muzaffar alias Tappi had allegedly awarded the contract to a single vendor without adopting an open tender process, according to available record of the LGD.
No audit for setting up 531 RO plants in Sindh has been carried out since 2012.
The huge loss has been attributed to financial corruption, poor maintenance and no followup check on the quality and performance of the project awarded to Pak Oasis Company.
Project Director RO Plant Owais Malik of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board said the board was only responsible to supervize and has had nothing to do with quality control and quality assurance, process, funding and matter of operation of the company in question.
Qamer Qureshi, the Economic Forum Pakistan chairman said there was a dire need to examine and investigate the matter by LGD and government quarters concerned.
The whole scheme from feasibility to awarding of contract and making payments on operation and maintenance of RO plants from inception needs to be investigated, so that those responsible could be held accountable.
The original report was published in the Daily Times.
US$1 = PKR 105 (2012)