Islamabad - The local government has decided to launch a crackdown against illegal water connections in the city to overcome the increasing water shortage.

The decision was taken during the 26th session of Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) which was held at Pak China Friendship Centre here. The meeting was presided over by Mayor Islamabad, Sheikh Anser Aziz and attended by members of the MCI. Chief Metropolitan Officer (CMO) Syed Najaf Iqbal admitted that there were illegal water connections and added that underground water level was also going down day by day. He said that Islamabad district administration has been approached for assistance in the crackdown. He further said that old and rusted water supply lines also need to be replaced. He informed the meeting that 47 percent of the total supplied water is not reaching the residents due to water theft and leakage of the supply lines.

The Mayor briefed the House about current water situation in the city and said that in the wake of recent rain falls, the water level in Simly Dam has increased substantially while underground water level has also risen due to which extraction of water through tube wells has been increased. He said that when MCI was established, only 50 out of 192 tube wells were operational, however, MCI worked on war footing basis and now 150 tube wells were supplying water properly while repair and maintenance of the remaining was in progress. He said that water supply from Simly Dam has been increased to 30 mgd from 24 mgd per day. He said that efforts are underway to get budget from the federal government so that MCI could be made functional in true sense.

The Mayor congratulated the house over one of MCI members becoming member of the parliament and awarding of ticket to the other one for the bye-election. It is to mention here that Raja Khurram Nawaz who was previously Chairman of an Islamabad Union Council, was elected MNA from Islamabad in July 25 general election on the ticket of PTI and the party has also decided to award ticket to Opposition Leader in the MCI, Ali Awan for bye-election on the Islamabad seat for the National Assembly. Speaking on the occasion, Ali Awan thanked the party for awarding him the ticket.

The members protested registration of FIRs against few of them for organising cattle markets in their respective areas on the eve of Eid-ul-Azha. They chanted slogans against the district administration and demanded to summon Deputy Commissioner Islamabad in the next meeting to explain why the administration booked the MCI members for the ‘crime’. They were of the view that the district administration encroached upon the authority of the MCI by auctioning the cattle markets.

The Mayor and Chief Metropolitan Officer criticized the role of former government, CDA high ups, Chairman CDA, CDA Labour Union, bureaucracy, Ministry of Interior and finance ministry on the issue of transfer of CDA assets to the MCI. The CMO told the House that Chairman CDA was misleading the higher authorities at every available forum when it comes to division of the assets between CDA and MCI. He said a summary for Rules of Business, Schedule of Establishment and Administrative Powers was sent to the ministry of interior some three months back but the ministry raised 16 objections over it and sent it back to the MCI. He said the CDA withdrew Rs 160 million from MCI account without any authorization. The CMO said that ministry of finance was repeatedly approached for the funds and budget but every time the summary was rejected. He told the meeting that the previous government did not take the local government serious.  He said MCI required lot of funds per month to run its affairs.  The Mayor informed the members that after approval of a high-level committee, these assets were devolved to the MCI. However, in order to resolve issue of distribution of assets on permanent basis, distribution would be discussed in the meeting of high level committee constituted in this regard, he told the meeting.

The House approved the proceedings of 25th session of the MCI. The meeting also discussed the responsibilities given to the elected representatives to monitor the progress of Environment Staff.

The meeting unanimously supported the monitoring system and said that in order to maintain the green character of Islamabad and removal of wild bushes and grass, the Environment Wing would be made more efficient and active because keeping city clean and green is among the responsibilities of the elected representatives.

The session also unanimously approved the enhancement of TAB vaccination fee which is charged from eateries and workers engaged in business of production of edible products from Rs.30 to Rs.150. The House also discussed the encroachments made by the restaurants in Saidpur Model Village and decided that in the next session, complete details would be presented before the House so that a comprehensive policy could be evolved. The House also unanimously approved the resolution against blasphemous cartoons by Holland and requested government of Pakistan to raise this issue at the relevant forums so that religious sentiments of the Muslims could not be harmed.

Meanwhile, a CDA team demolished two illegal water hydrants in the area of Said Pur Model Village here. The hydrants were being used by private tanker owners to supply water to the needy residents against high charges.