LAHORE-Water & Sanitation Agency (WASA) Vice Chairman Sheikh Imtiaz Mehmood has said that unauthorised commercial aquifer connections could be regularized without penalty for a period of one month. Talking to the business community during visit to Lahore Chamber of Commerce & Industry (LCCI) on Monday, he urged industrialists to obtain hydrology licenses under amnesty scheme to avoid action. LCCI President Irfan Iqbal Sheikh, Vice President Mian Zahid Jawaid Ahmad, Deputy Managing Director Finance and Revenue WASA Naveed Mazher, Director Revenue WASA Mian Muneer, LCCI former Senior Vice President Amjad Ali Jawa, Former Vice President Mahmood Ghaznavi, executive committee members Fiaz Haider, Arshad Khan, Haji Asif Saher, Harris Attique, Zeeshan Sohail Malik, Sheikh Sajjad Afzal and people from different industrial associations were also present. WASA agreed to establish a facilitation desk at the LCCI to ensure early resolution of the issues being faced by the business community. Sheikh Imtiaz Mehmood said that most of the people have been harassed or faced heavy fines due to lack of information on their part. He said that underground water level in Lahore was getting lower and there was need to focus on water conservation. He sought LCCI cooperation to make people aware of the amnesty scheme to register their units. He said that WASA has published pamphlet carrying necessary information. He said that license would be given according to the water extraction level, deep or shallow, and the charges would be fixed accordingly. “I will try to bring some relief on fines after discussion with the relevant officers”, he said. Regarding poor sanitation in Lahore, he said that WASA was going to launch an application named “Hazir Sir” for immediate solution of sanitation problem. The complaints with the pictorial evidence have to be just uploaded on the app. The relevant officer would solve the issue immediately. He said that funds have been allocated for six waste water treatment plants near River Ravi.

Irfan Iqbal Sheikh said that WASA has increased water tariff for industrial and commercial users. WASA has fixed Rs.100,000 per month and Rs.50,000 per month respectively for extracting ground water through tube-well of 1 cusec and ½ cusec for industrial and commercial consumer in Lahore. He said that this tariff was high as compared to other cities of Punjab like Faisalabad and Multan. He said that water tariff across all cities should be uniformed. He said that the industry was facing challenges due to high cost of doing business including excessively high policy rate, over-priced power rates and multiple taxes. He said that the approach of fixation of water charges would bring more challenges for the industrial sector. WASA should install meters at all the industrial and commercial units so that billing could be generated according to the actual use of water.