DERA GHAZI KHAN   -  The Punjab government once again has failed to supply potable water at famous tourist resort Fort Munro. More than 100,000 locals and 150,000 to 250,000 tourists, visiting the resort monthly, are suffering from a great ordeal due to chronic shortage of drinking water at the hill station and adjacent villages.

The government’s tall claims to develop “Fort Munro as South Punjab’s Murree” has not materialised in the current season too.

Hypocritical role of tribal elders, discriminatory attitude of the Punjab government and corruption of public departments, particularly Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) DG Khan’s corrupt officers, have stolen the basic rights locals.

An officer of PHED DG Khan requesting anonymity told The Nation that on 12 June 2015, rehabilitation of Urban Water Supply Project Fort Munro of worth Rs161.14 million was awarded to M/S Amanullah Leghari & CO. “But the project fell prey to corruption which destroyed the whole water supply scheme. Therefore, the availability of clean drinking water has become a nightmare for locals and tourists.”

He disclosed that Syed Baqir Riffat Gardezi, ex-Executive Engineer PHE Division DG Khan, along with Ghulam Shabbir, Akhtar Hussain, Sub Divisional Officers (SDOs) and Abdul Hameed Sub Engineer devised a plan of corruption. As per their plan, they jointly paid millions of rupees to the contractor Haji Amanullah Leghari, in excess for unapproved items without getting approval from the competent form, and received kickbacks.

He added a charge sheet from Secretary HUD&PHED Lahore was issued to all above officials on 27th March 2018 and Shafqat Saeed Director PHATA Faisalabad was appointed as Inquiry Officer, but all went in vain and no admirable result came out.

He shared, as per charge sheet allegations, Syed Baqir Riffat Gardezi ex-Executive Engineer was found guilty to pay in excess amount Rs62.80 millions, Ghulam Shabbir and Akhtar Hussain, SDOs were found guilty to pay in excess amount Rs2.58 millions and Rs62.80 millions respectively while Abdul Hameed Sub Engineer was found guilty to pay in excess amount Rs18.99 millions.

These officers paid amount in excess to the contractor for purchase of Diesel Generator sets of 30 KVA, 60 KVA, 4040/400 KVA and 500 KVA for different sites, Repairing of electric transformers, bulk carriage main and interconnection, construction of flood protection bund, diesel generator room and Jeeb able tracks and repairing of pumping machinery (pumps, motors and copper conductors) and received a big amount as bribe from contractor. He also revealed, on 8th May 2018 Superintending Engineer PHE Circle DG Khan wrote a letter to the Chief Engineer Punjab (South) PHE Department Lahore for to declare blacklist M/S Amanullah Leghari & CO due to poor performance.