Sikandar Haider

DERA GHAZI KHAN

More than 30,000 people of Yaroo Khosa Town, 19 km away from here, have been deprived of drinkable water for over 28 days in hot weather, duet to disconnection of electricity supply by Mepco to the water supply schemes of the area.

Multan Electric Power Company (Mepco) DG Khan had suspended electricity connections of Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA) for not paying about Rs250 million electricity bill. As a result, it also cut the power supply to the tube wells. On a protest by the citizens, it temporally restored the electricity of the TMA city circle, while the electricity connections of two water supply tube wells are still disconnected.

Hundreds of people with children protested and staged a sit-in against the administration on the roads but the administrant and Public Health Engineering Department (PHED) has not taken no step in this regard.

When contacted, Sub Divisional Officer Shah Saddr Din Circle Shahbaz Ahmad said two electricity connections of Yaroo Khosa water supply schemes were disconnected the Public Health Engineering Department DG Khan owes Rs3.3 million while User Committee Yaroo Khosa owes Rs0.75 million.

He added, "We want to restore electricity but no administration official including TMA and PHE DG Khan is willing to solve the problem, even they are not giving us verbal assurance to pay the bills."

PHED DG Khan Superintendent Engineer Sajjad Hussain Bhatti said that he did not know about it. However, he claimed, it was confirm that PHED supervised no water supply scheme in District DG Khan.

When approached, PHED Executive Engineer Javid Shakeel said that it had handed over water supply schemes to TMA DG Khan and Community Base Organisation (CBO) a long ago and now TMA is responsible for its maintenance or repair.

DG Khan TMO Ch Muhammad Tahir was unaware of the situation but Assistant Tehsil Officer Ahmed Hassan said that the TMA was not responsible for it. "We only supervise water supply schemes, while bills are paid by User Committee Yaroo Khosa and PHED DG Khan," he said.

More than 80 percent population of the town depends upon TMA water supply schemes. Frequent stoppage of water supply is causing health hazards because ground water is saline.

According to a survey of Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR) of 2012 in DG Khan, major contamination found in water supply schemes was microbiological while others were arsenic, fluoride and nitrate and water being provided for people is unsafe.

Contaminated water causes fatal diseases like diarrhoea, dysentery, cholera, thyroid, jaundice, gastroenteritis, peptic ulcer diseases, cirrhosis of liver, nephritis and worms infestations.

According to WHO report, approximately 6.3 million people in Pakistan do not have access to clean drinking water and 250,000 children under the age of five die annually due to contaminated water consumption. Contaminated water diseases cost Pakistan's economy Rs1.3 billion. Over this critical situation, poor and helpless citizens of town had protested and demanded Chief Minister Punjab Shahbaz Sharif to restore water supply on permanent basis as early as possible but to no avail.