Report sought on quality of water at schools Listen
The judicial commission investigating into Sindh’s water issues has ordered a report on the quality of the essential commodity being supplied to the schools and colleges across the province.
Headed by Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro, the body directed the education secretary on Saturday to submit a detailed report on the government’s efforts to improve the quality of water and sanitation at educational institutions.
Education Secretary Iqbal Hussain Durrani submitted a preliminary report on the quality of potable water at schools of the province, showing the breakdown of institutions where the commodity was available and where it was not.
Durrani admitted that no value addition was carried out by the education department to improve either the quality of water or its availability in schools.
He said the public health engineering and local government departments were responsible for supplying clean drinking water to the schools in the rural and urban districts of the province.
He added that the education department had prepared a comprehensive plan based on two phases for providing all the facilities, including potable water, to educational institutions.
The education secretary also said the directors of schools had been directed to carry out laboratory tests of the commodity being supplied to the educational institutions.
The monitoring & evaluation director general has been further mandated to inspect schools at random twice a month to improve the attendance of the teaching and ancillary staff as well as to check water and sanitation conditions, he added.
He said the relevant engineers of the education department would also devise schemes to improve the workability of the prevalent system to provide potable water and to maintain good sanitary conditions at schools, adding that the progress report of the meeting would be submitted in the next hearing.
The official said the issue of water quality and its availability at many schools was not only perennial but widespread and deep-rooted as well, but the problem was not being addressed with the seriousness that was expected in such a situation.
The commission directed the education secretary to thoroughly discuss the issues in the meeting and apprise the judicial body of the efforts being put in to improve the quality of water and sanitation at the schools and colleges all over the province.
Jamal Mustafa Syed, chairman of a task force constituted to ensure potable water across Sindh, submitted a report with regard to implementation of a master plan prepared earlier to save the water bodies of the province from pollution.
Public Health Engineering Department Secretary Tameezuddin Khero said he had already gone through the report and intended to move the PC-I of the project in the light of the recommendations, adding that he would initiate a summary before the exercise within a week to commit funds for the plan.
The commission directed Khero to communicate to the judicial body in the next hearing a definite timeline for starting work to implement the master plan.
On the supply of electricity to water and sanitation schemes in different districts of the province, Khero said that as many as 214 of the 239 water schemes had been provided with electricity. He assured the commission that the remaining would be made functional within a month.
The public health engineering department secretary said the treatment plant at Shaheed Benazirabad had been put into function and its activation process would be started within six weeks.
Local Government Secretary Mohammad Ramzan Awan said the issue of the Golarchi filter plant would be made functional, as the issue regarding payment to the contractor had been resolved.
Awan said the filtration plants of Umerkot and Jati were not working due to some technical reasons, adding that they would be made functional within the shortest possible time.
Industries Secretary Abdul Rahim Soomro informed the commission that the subject of five proposed combined effluent treatment plants to be built in Karachi came under discussion in the planning & development meeting and it would be brought up in the next meeting of the Executive Committee of National Economic Council for final approval.
On the draft of the resolution of regulations for operating water hydrants, the commission was informed that the law department had raised some objections on it.
Karachi Water & Sewerage Board Managing Director Hashim Raza Zaidi said he would look into the draft thoroughly and improve them so as to comprehensively address every issue. The judicial body directed Zaidi to remove objections on the draft and submit a progress report.
Health Secretary Dr Fazlullah Pechuho said three incinerators had been supplied to the Hyderabad health director general to be installed at the Shikarpur, Nausheroferoz and Badin district hospitals.
The task force chairman submitted a comprehensive report identifying the causes of failure of the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency and suggested remedial measures to turn the agency into a result-oriented organisation.
In the previous hearing the commission had observed that the environmental watchdog was essential in redressing the issue of discharge of toxic effluents but was yet to carry out its responsibilities.
Water And Sanitation Agency (Wasa) Hyderabad Managing Director Masood Ahmed Jumani said the water quality at the local water filtration plants had been improved and all the chlorinators were made functional to supply clean water.
He, however, admitted that optimum improvements in the filtration plants could not be made for want of rehabilitation of all the components, for which Wasa had invited tenders, adding that alum dozing for water purification had been enhanced to control turbidity.
He said temporary arrangements had been made with a private contractor to install a model plant at the Darya Khan pumping station for controlling and treating effluents being discharged in the Phuleli canal.
Larkana Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Radiotherapy Director Dr Abdul Samad submitted a report mentioning that an incinerator had been installed at the facility as well as water filters for supplying clean water. The commission then adjourned the hearing until November 11.