LAHORE - The Clean Drinking Water for All (CDWA) programme, initiated by President Pervez Musharraf to deliver safe drinking water throughout the country, has come to a complete halt due to controversies over contracts, tug of war between ministry of environment and ministry of industries and also the tussle between legislators and Nazims over petty issues like reidentification and maintenance of filtration plants besides a fresh row over the need for new filters. The CDWA programme has not only hit snags and its work suspended but also missed its deadlines for completion twice, once in December 2007 and then in May 2008 - the final deadline set be the Federal Government. Under the project, 544 filtration plants were to be installed on town level in first phase, but so far, only 409 plants have been installed. The federal government has already revised the project to increase the installation of 6,585 filtration plants instead of 6,000 which was the initial target of the project. The revision in its target led to rise in the total cost of the project from Rs 8.5 billion to Rs 15.8 billion. Most of the increase in the cost has been made in view of the change of technology and maintenance and repair cost of the programme. Well-placed sources revealed that the project had been hit by controversies when contracts to install the plants were awarded to favourites of project director in Environment Ministry. "During the pre-qualification bidding, those companies which submitted the cost of project at Rs 6 lakh were rejected against those which had set the cost at Rs 1.2 million. Under the contract, it was not cleared who would manage and maintain the filtration plant," sources said. As there was ambiguity in the contracts, the companies involved in the installation refused to carry out maintenance work or even change the faulty filters due to which a number of filtration plants are not functioning at all, sources added. Insiders disclosed that after the revision of programme, government had decided to award the contracts to foreign companies only, which sparked another controversy. Sources said that local companies had approached the influential politicians to intervene. While the foreign companies who have been given green signal by the government started pulling strings to grab lucrative contracts. Sources said that at present, as many as 11 private firms had been prequalified for the purpose, which would not only import the UF technology gadgets but also run and maintain these plants for three years," sources pointed out. Disappointed at the pace of execution of this nationwide project, the Presidency shifted the scheme from the Environment Ministry to the Ministry of Industries. After the decision both ministries locked the horns. The Environment Ministry is trying hard to reverse the decision and retain the control of the programme now, sources revealed. The Environment Ministry spokesman said that they had taken up the matter with the authorities concerned and sought a review of the decision. He said "till the time the government takes a decision on the Environment Ministry's initiative, the CDWA would remain part of its official business. He said that in the last meeting on the subject in the Presidency, the President did not show any displeasure at the implementation of the project. The spokesman said the Environment Ministry had pleaded with the president that the project be implemented by the federal government and not through the provinces to ensure it successful execution. Sources said that another stumbling block in the execution of project was the conflict between provincial and local governments. Both want powers regarding management and maintenance of the plants to improve their public graph, sourced added. Under the project revised recently, the federal government would monitor the project while the provinces would implement it through the district governments. Local governments would identify locations for installing these filtration plants. Sources said that newly elected members of provincial assemblies did not want Nazims to have any role in the project. A number of ministers in coalition government claimed that provincial government should be declared real owner of the plants. The Environment Ministry also suggested that the MPAs should be empowered for the identification of suitable locations. It resulted in reaction from both the local governments as well as the provinces, sources added. A new controversy developed when change of plan regarding filters for the plants was demanded. Earlier technology had a capacity to clean 2,000 gallons per hour with carbon filters from each filtration plant. Now the plan is under consideration whereby Ultra Filtration (UF) technology, having capacity to purify 500 to 1000 gallons per hour will be acquired for its efficiency. Reason behind the change of filters is merely money minting. They said that carbon filter was very effective but UF technology was being introduced to extract commissions. They said that government had decided to import Ultra Filters despite the fact they could be prepared on indigenous level. They demanded the government to look into the matter to save the money.