The federal government has decided to install a new telemetry system on the rivers, after the failure of the existing system to deliver accurate data.

Due to the inefficiency and negligence of Wapda the telemetry system installed with the cost of Rs 350 million in 2003 is outdated and should be replaced with a new one, decided in a meeting held in the Ministry of Water and Power on Tuesday. The meeting was attended by Secretary Ministry of Water and Power Yusuf Dhaga, Chairman Irsa, Raqib Khan, member Water Wapda, and other high officials of the Ministry of Water and Power.

An official source told The Nation that member Wapda informed the meeting that the Ministry of Water and Power is paying Rs 20 million for the annual operation and maintenance of telemetry system while the total operational cost is Rs 44 million. Wapda is paying the remaining Rs 14 million from its resources, he added.

Telemetry system was installed, in 2003, on the orders of the then President General Pervez Musharraf to end the differences between the provinces over the distribution of water. But unfortunately Wapda had installed the faulty system and is annually spending Rs 44 million on its operations, the source maintained.

Member Water offered two options, either to charge the electricity consumers for the operational cost of the telemetry system or hand over it to IRSA, source informed. “We do not have any interest in operating the telemetry system we are doing it on the request of IRSA,” said Member Water.

Chairman IRSA, while refusing from taking over the operations of the telemetry system from Wapda, said that the faulty system installed by Wapda has created tension and mistrust among the provinces on water distribution.

“We have conducted a study via Nespak to see if the flaws can be removed from the telemetry system and they told us that the system is outdated and it is hard to get its part as it is not operational anywhere in the world,” chairman IRSA informed the meeting.

Nespak has further informed the IRSA that the system cannot work by its own and it will need human interference for obtaining the required results, Chairman said adding that we don’t need such system which cannot work by its owns as the human involvement was a factor that spoiled the system and created the mistrust. He said that Irsa wanted a system on the river water flows that will be foolproof and lessen dependency on the manual system which allegedly usurped rights of different provinces.

It was decided in the meeting that a new system will be installed in phases and will be funded by IRSA, the source maintained. First a pilot project will be launched and the telemetry system will be installed in one designated place, then it will be expended to five location and at the end will be installed, in all the 24 sites, across the country, source explained. It is hoped that the new system will help improve the water distribution system within the provinces to benefit the end-users farming community.

Meanwhile another source in the ministry said that no one benefited from the installation of the current telemetry system except the firm that sold the equipment and the government departments that had purchased it. “I think the matter should be forwarded to the NAB for further action as it has caused 100s of million losses to the exchequer,” the source suggested.