LAHORE    -   The Aab-e-Pak Authority has become functional, Punjab Governor Ch Muhammad Sarwar said on Tuesday. It will monitor the filtration plants and to regulate the business of bottled water in the province.

“Companies supplying unhygienic water to the citizens should pack up [their business]. From now onwards, the Aab-e-Pak Authority would check water samples and punish those violating the set criteria”, he warned while addressing a news conference at the Governor House.   

The governor said that the necessary legal cover has been provided to the Authority to award punishments to the violators. 

He also announced the name of General (R) Ahmed Nawaz Saleem Mela for chairmanship of Punjab Aab-E-Pak Authority including the names for board members and office bearers. Ch Sarwar also apologized to the people for starting the clean drinking water project with delay of one year.

He declared chairman of Authority, board members and office holders will not receive any salaries or benefits.

He warned that those responsible for provision of unhealthy drinking water in Punjab will be jailed for two years along with fines in millions and other punishments. “Private Companies who are selling drinking water in Punjab will be issued license after investigation and inquiry by Punjab Aab-E-Pak Authority”, he said, adding that records of all the Government and private filtration plants in Punjab was being compiled to check the quality of the water provided by them.

Governor said Secretary Housing and Public health Naseem Sadiq will be Chief Executive Officer of Authority while Gohar Ijaz will head the Central Punjab AAB-e- Pak Authority and will also head the HR department. He also announced that Mian Talat Mahmood will be head of the finance committee and Rabia Zia will head North Punjab Aab-E-Pak Authority and Social Meida. Likewise, South Punjab  Aab-E-Pak Authority will be headed by Faisal Mukhtar and Khurram Mukhtar will head Procurement Committee. All these office holders will also assume responsibility of board members along with Secretary Local Government Syed Waseem Raza, Secretary and DP Muhammad Ramzan, Secretary Finance Abdullah Sunbal and Secretary Housing and Public Department Naseem Sadiq.

While responding to media questions Governor said that past Governments allocated funds worth billions of rupees for the provision of safe drinking water but they all were swept away because of corruption. “Even today cases of such projects are under trial in NAB and other institutions. I assure the public of Punjab that there will not a corruption of single penny in this project and it will be completely corruption free” he maintained.

Governor said he had summoned MD’s of WASA from all the districts of the province including Lahore and demanded briefing over the filtration plants installed to provide clean drinking water to public. Answering a question, Governor said:  “As a patron- in- chief of Punjab Aab-E-Pak Authority I assure the public that we will make this project such a institution that no upcoming government will even think of scrapping it. We will deliver on the promise of PM Imran khan to provide clean drinking water to every village, district and city irrespective of rich and poor” He made it clear that government would make this project free of all the political influence. “This is the reason we have not appointed any MPA or MNA as the board members of the authority. Instead, we have chosen people with good professional reputation from different walks of life”, he said.

Governor noted that thousands would die every year because of no access to clean drinking water. He said provision of clean drinking water to the people was vital to save them from getting affected from Hepatitis and different fatal water borne diseases.

 Chairman Punjab Aab-E-Pak Authority Ahmed Nawaz Mela said that there was no doubt that provision of clean drinking water in Punjab was a big challenge but the way Patron in Chief Ch Muhammad Sarwar had upheld merit and transparency in appointments for board members and heads of the authority, this team will fully deliver on the promise of providing clean drinking water to people of Punjab.