Do you recall the bold headlines in newspapers of September 21, 2005 that splashed the governments commitment to provide clean drinking water for all in the country by 2007? Then Prime Minister, Shaukat Aziz, had headed the implementation committee himself as a measure of reassurance. Fast forward four years and the newspapers of September 29, 2009 again carried bold headlines that the federal cabinet had approved a new 'national drinking water policy. They said clean drinking water is to be provided to all Pakistanis by 2025. Since then, each new advertisement has extended the date for project completion only further. Two billion rupees of our money has gone into this project, and far more almost certainly, has to be poured in. But we are no closer to the promised clean drinking water than we were when this big sham was started. The Ministry of Environment lacks the understanding, motivation and skills to solve this serious issue. And it is also forever strapped for funds. You might not have noticed that because it keeps holding seminars in the most expensive five-star hotels with disconcerting regularitythe next one with the fancy name of Launching A National Drinking Water Policy and Strategies For Development is in Serena Hotel Islamabad on March 22. This day-long seminar, whose out-of-town participants will be accommodated overnight, would be paid for from the UNICEF funds. You bet, the water served with the sumptuous food between sessions would be mineral, spa-water of the imported kind. All of our top NGOs and government outfits seem afflicted with the same disease; five-star hoteling. -ISA DAUDPOTA, Karachi, March 19.