City of Pine & City of School
By: Syed Kosar Naqvi
ABBOTTABAD: The fate of the Japanese government-funded Rs4.2 billion gravity-flow drinking water supply scheme is in doldrums as the Cantonment Board officials have stopped work on it and asked the district government to sign new agreement for the distribution of water.
Member Provincial Assembly from Abbottabad Inayatullah Khan Jadoon, District Coordination Officer Abbottabad Syed Imtiaz Shah, Executive Engineer of the Public Health Engineering Department and focal person for the project Shahid Mehmood said the Cantonment Board authorities stopped the work despite assurance that water would be provided to the entire Cantonment area from the scheme.
The sources said that the district government had signed an agreement with the Cantonment Board in which the modalities were defined. The present water supply system in Abbottabad city is based on tubewells. Owing to fast depletion of ground water, the life span of the tubewell is short and existing facilities have become inadequate to meet the water demand.
The cost of the gravity flow drinking water supply scheme is Rs.4280.105 million including Japanese grant-in-aid of Rs.3702.737 million. Sources said the Japanese contractor as well as the consultants had contacted their high authorities and expressed deep concern about the new development.
When contacted, Cantonment Executive Officer Rana Kashif said the work had been stopped for neglecting the Cantonment area. He said the no-objection certificate (NOC) for the project had been awarded on the condition that water would be provided to the Abbottabad Cantonment.
District Coordination Officer (DCO) Abbottabad Syed Imtiaz Shah said that all modalities and agreements had already been made before the implementation of the project. “The new development has also put the donors in a fix,” he added.
Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) XEN Shahid Mehmood told The News that they started the work after getting the NOC from all the relevant departments including the Cantonment Board Abbottabad.
He said after the completion of 70 per cent of the work the Cantonment Board stopped the work and sought representation in the project’s steering committee.He added that the Cantonment Board authorities had been assured that Cantonment area was included in the project and their nominee would be taken on the steering committee.