LAHORE The Lahore High Court on Tuesday directed the Water and Sanitation Agency managing director to present during the next hearing on 25th, the audit report of the utilisation of Rs 21 million funds earlier provided for the Agency to meet the potable water needs and cleanse the sewerage system. LHC Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry was hearing a suo moto case and a petition against contaminated water being supplied to the citizens through the municipal tubewells. When the chief justice asked the Wasa managing director about the said amount provided to the Agency, the officer gave a fragmentary reply upon which the court directed him to present the audit report of the funds. Moreover, the managing director informed the court that as many as 150 water treatment plants, which would be installed in tubewells at union council level in the Punjab capital, had been imported from China A report, filed through MD Wasa on the question of mixture of fatal arsenic in the water from municipal tubewells, said that many water pipelines in the city had been replaced for they had become rusty of age and time. The report said that it would go a long way to address the problems of substandard and arsenious water. The chief justice directed the MD to expedite the process to save the citizens health. It may be recalled that the suo moto proceedings on the matter were initiated by former chief justice Khwaja Muhammad Sharif taking the notice of a press report that most of the 450 tubewells in the city were highly polluted with arsenic which was causing a number of serious diseases to the citizens. The sample tests of water revealed 88 of the tubewells were supplying dangerous material through the water to the citizens and the quantity of arsenic was on a much higher side. As a result, the court had directed the Wasa to take stock of the situation and pursue prompt measures against the menace of dirty water running through the tubewells. Through various reports and media publications, the issue of contaminated water throughout the province was highlighted and the government showing alarm to the situation decided to install water treatment plants at union council level in the province. Later on, work started at some places but remained in the doldrums and the announcement failed to get implementation. Low-level of water, poor and shabby sewerage system, rusty water pipelines and indifference of the authorities to mix chlorine to purify water contributed to the substandard and disease-riddled water. Some recent reports suggest that contaminated water is causing different diseases which affect lever, intestines, stomach and arthritis. Contaminated water is proving disastrous effects for the children who have poor immune system to withstand the attacks of germs-filled water. One of the interesting aspects of the matter that at the city, authorities in the past made a number of schemes and plans to treat water but they could not be implemented allegedly owing to bureaucratic interests associated with the companies selling purified bottled water. Wasa also charges from the consumers with the water fees, money to ensure availability of pure and clean water to the citizens but it has done nothing to do the needful which in the eye of law is an offence, commented Muhammad Azhar Siddique of the Judicial Activism Penal. The water situation is posing serious life threat to the citizens, therefore immediate and effective measures are needed to address the same and to achieve the purpose, the matter should not be left to the bureaucracy or junior level officers but the top authorities need to play their active role, commented a professor at a college. (Anothre story on page 14)