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Pakistan

Water scarcity hits Karachi suburbs

By: Ramzan Chandio | Published: December 25, 2010

KARACHI – A large number of population is facing scarcity of drinking water in the suburbs of the city due to apathy of the authorities. However, prolonged power failure has also caused frustration among the residents of Memon Goth and surrounding areas, the business center of Gadap Town, who have been facing acute water shortage for several days. The locality comprises population of 40,000 people.

Majority of people depends on agriculture, some are employed at nearby poultry and vegetable farms. Residents are worried about water shortage and allege that certain officials have given illegal connections to farm owners and factories thus depriving the residential area of its water share. Mostly people get water through tube wells, set up for irrigation purposes while others receive water through government-laid water supply lanes.

Local activists allegedly say that Gadap Town Municipal Administration is responsible of this shortage, as they have failed to repair water sucking motors. Salim Memon, President Karachi Rural Network (KRN), the platform of about 40 NGOs and CBOs, told The Nation that they have been facing water shortage for a long time but in the current month the situation has become the most agonising. Poor women and children have to travel to neighbouring muhallas to fetch water facing all the difficulties in the process. Memon claims the Goth is the commercial centre of 1,200 villages of Gadap, Bin Qasim Town, Malir and parts of Jamshoro district. Traditionally the people from far off areas feel easy to buy ration and other items from Memon Goth’s wholesale market instead of travelling to Karachi centres.

The KRN’s head said certain officials of the Gadap Town administration after greasing their palms allow farm owners to get illegal connections. This has become a lucrative business and despite their complaints Town Administration has never bothered to monitor the situation and punish those doing this illegal business. He alleged that the commercial centres, factories, farms and shop owners have to pay charges, while residential areas were declared excluded of water bill payment long ago, when the local communities cried against poverty, increasing desertification. He said defunct Karachi District Council through a resolution passed unanimously asked KWSB that the residential areas of suburbs will not pay water bills, because they were victims of natural calamity. He said desertification due to water shortage had affected a large number of skilled farm workers and growers, who either have migrated to other areas or changed their occupation for survival of their families.

Again, he said, these trade centers and farms are getting more water through illegal network and residential areas are facing difficulty. Gadap Town official said power failure was the main problem owing to water shortage. According to him, two watersucking machines were out of order, which they had repaired now for smooth supply. Now there should be no problem. But he said actually there was water shortage coming from the main line of Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB). He said it was the common problem being faced by the residents of entire area. He said they have conveyed the grievances of the local people to KWSB as well as the provincial government to look into the matter and meet the actual demand of water. He said the residents are unaware and do not pay the prescribed amount for water. He said those criticizing town for this, should initiate the community awareness first and ensure the payment of bills. He said the people expect smooth water supply free of cost, which they can not afford. Memon Goth once the scenic area with fruit gardens and vegetable farms now offers deserted look, as underground water fallen down and even tube wells can not pump out more water for irrigating small piece of crops. Increasing desertification in the area is another problem put the communities vulnerable to environmental degradation.

The Nation

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About WashMedia-South Asia

WashMedia-South Asia is a group of South Asian journalists working on water, sanitation and hygiene issues. Theses journalists are from Pakistan, India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Nepal.

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