KARACHI - The government authorities have failed to comply with the apex court order to enhance the performance of the reverse osmosis (RO) plants in Karachi, the people of the coastal areas are still deprived of drinking water, The Nation has learnt.

It has been observed that the purpose of providing potable water could not be achieved nor would there be any justification to spend such a huge amount on their operations and maintenance.

The decades old fishermen villages located at Hawks bay are still deprived of save drinking water as mostly the RO plants remained non-functional. The residents are not being provided water through line; the people are getting water by tankers after paying Rs 500 to 300 for each tanker. ”The poor people can’t afford to buy tankers, the tankers are allowed to fill water from RO plants but the locals are not provided water from the plants” said residents, 

Ali Akber Shah, a renowned social activist, told The Nation that the area is supplied water only four days a month through line from a RO plant in Younusabad, he said that tanker mafias are still working in Hawksbey and Kiamari areas.

The schemes to install RO plants worth Rs40 billion initiated in 2008, when the Pakistan People’s Party-led government presented the first budget. As many as eight RO plants were installed in Maripure to Hawksbey.

Ali Akbar Shah said that there is no any arrangement from the government or any other department to maintain the RO plants; he added that the area people have to pay from their pockets to maintain and run the RO plants properly.

Earlier, the Supreme Court-constituted Water Commission has taken notice over the mismanagements and corruption in installation of RO plants. The commission has observed that filtration plants were installed to provide potable water after treatment, but due to the inefficiency, lack of interest and corrupt practices of officials of the departments operating them, they had been rendered almost redundant.

The clarifiers, sedimentation tanks, chlorinators, lagoons, etc at filter plants were out of order for the last many years. These filtrations plants are at the most being used as pumping stations.

The commission observed that purification to remove contaminants, suspended solids and gases from water to make it consumable for humans was not taking place at any of the filter plants across Sindh. The process of water testing, which is an integral part of water treatment as it ensures the fitness of water to be potable, is not being adopted either at any filter or reverse osmosis plants.

According to the experts the way reverse osmosis plants were shown to be working and producing drinkable water as per WHO standards was nothing but a farce. Private company Pak Oasis seems to be earning millions of rupees through these RO plants, which do not produce good quality water for drinking.

The RO plants in Keamari and Lyari come under the domain of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB). A sum of Rs40 million was reportedly also allocated for the maintenance of RO plants

The RO plants are being run by private companies and they charge a high price from the government, which is 12 paisas per gallon, to convert saline water into potable water.