By A.B. Arisar
1st May, 2011
UMERKOT, April 30: The hopes of residents of Thar are dashed as their dream of clean, filtered water at doorsteps is yet not materialised although a mega scheme was launched in 2006 at a cost of worth Rs403.100 million for the purpose.
The scheme could not serve the purpose for which it was launched because of the change of regime and afterwards escalation in its cost.
More than four years have passed and we still believe a filter plant would begin functioning in Umerkot under phase-V of the scheme, said an elderly resident Jamal Manganhar of Umerkot-Ratnor Road.
Previously, residents depended on underground water which became brackish forcing them to walk miles to fetch this precious commodity from wells and hand-pumps, he said.
People began suffering from gastroenteritis and diarrhoea because of the contaminated underground water. The Sindh government approved an urban water supply scheme phase-V along with a filter plant in 2006, giving a ray of hope to Thar residents he said and wondered as to what were the reasons behind abandoning the project halfway. Villages and colonies in the radius of 5km from Umerkot city were to be provided water from this scheme.
Sources in the Public Health Engineering Department Umerkot said the project was sanctioned in November 2006 and work began in January 2007 with the completion date fixed by June 2010. It was also learnt that the scheme was abandoned because it was sanctioned by the previous government.
When contacted Executive Engineer Public Health Engineering Department Umerkot Nafees Ahmed said the scheme has a capacity of 35.616 million gallons water with 3.392 million gallons filtered. The scheme would provide clean water to 1,50000 people against the plan of facilitating 92,800.
Work on main rising from Thar canal to Umerkot, two main ponds at is complete, booster pumping stations fixed and distribution lines laid and handed over to taluka municipal administration Umerkot which is maintaining and operating it.
Work only on filter plant remained to be completed due to rates escalation and for revision purpose he said and added that revised amount would stand around 655.200 million. The authorities, he hoped, would approve the revised rates and funds for provision of filtered water to its inhabitants.