KARACHI   -   Water scarcity has been one of the major issues faced by the people of Karachi over the past many years but their miseries might not be ended soon as phase I of the Karachi Bulk Water Supply better known as K-IV was not expected to make any headway in the next fiscal year too.

The project was being considered as the most important one to cater the need of the mega city which was facing acute shortage of water since long but tussle between the Pakistan People’s Party-led Sindh government and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf-led federal government had left Karachiites on their own.

The project was initiated in 2007 by then City District Government Karachi but it was halted without much work being carried out. The federal and provincial governments had once again incorporated this scheme in 2014-15 budget with a estimated cost of Rs 25.551 billion and with 50 percent share from both the governments. The project was to be completed by June 2020 but it would definitely suffered delay owing to lethargy of both the governments.

The estimated cost of K-IV was Rs 25b but has now jumped to thrice of the initial cost. For the fiscal year 2019-20, the provincial government has allocated a minimal amount of Rs 800 million whereas the centre had ‘refused’ to release funds for it.

Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah in his post budget address said that the federal government was showing reluctance in implementing the K-IV project and had refused to release funds for its construction in order to overcome water woes in the city. He said that they were ready to carry out a survey through a third party by Nespak to estimate expenditure on the remaining project so that both the province and federal government could share fifty percent cost of the project.

He further asked the federal government to take action against any wrongdoing in the project but should avoid halting funding the project to overcome water issues in the city.

The people on the other hand were suffering the most in this scenario as the water scarcity continues to add their miseries. Major opposition parties in the Sindh Assembly had staged protest demonstrations over the issue. The PTI lawmakers gathered outside the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board office against what they called unfair distribution of water. Opposition Leader in Sindh Assembly and PTI leader Firdous Shamim Naqvi had said that water shortage in the city could be controlled through fair distribution. He added that Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani should maintain the water lines to ensure distribution of water in fair manner. “Hub Dam is quite filled with water and we can get 85 MGD water from it.”It is essential to devise fair system for distribution of water,” he added.

The Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan lawmakers also took a jibe at the provincial government and said that the people would not allow the ‘artificial’ shortage of water in the city. “The PPP Sindh government and KWSB should refrain from Karachi enmity and ensure fair distribution of water to each area of the city,” they added.

On the other hand, Sindh Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani refuted the opposition claims of artificial water shortage in the city and said that there was 50 per cent short fall of water. “Despite that the provincial government is committed to ensure fair distribution of water to each area,” he added.