Most city areas go dry as illegal hydrants still exist

KARACHI:

The citizens are grappled with a severe water shortage, exacerbated by the alleged theft and illegal sale of water through unauthorised hydrants in different parts of the city, allegedly with the involvement of the water corporation.

Despite the law enforcement efforts, the situation persists, leaving many without water even during the winter season.

Residents, unable to rely on regular water lines in certain areas, find themselves compelled to purchase water from tankers.

Despite attempts to provide water through government hydrants, collusion between Karachi Water and Sewage Board (KWSB) officials and illegal operators has allowed the unlawful extraction and sale of water at inflated prices.

Meanwhile, numerous illegal hydrants, previously shut down by agencies including Rangers, are said to be operating once again, allegedly supported by corrupt officers associated with the Anti-Theft Cell of the KWSB.

Read 150 illegal hydrants razed, 177 arrested

This illicit activity, facilitated by influential elements, involves the illegal tapping of main water supply lines, resulting in widespread water shortages and forcing citizens to pay exorbitant prices for essential water services.

Areas including District West, Korangi, Central, and East report the operation of illegal hydrants. Moreover, in Baldia Town, ten locations are identified where water is reportedly stolen and sold during nighttime. Although these hydrants were purportedly closed, reports indicate that they are reopened.

Specific incidents of water theft are highlighted in Korangi Chakra Goth, Jumma Goth, and Murtaza Chowrangi, with illegal operations occurring in the night, stealing millions of gallons of water.

The Anti-Theft Cell In-charge, Azhar Sheikh, has been implicated in the alleged patronage of these activities, being supported by KWSB former in-charge, Aamir Pager.

Despite the demolition of illegal hydrants in Korangi Chakra Goth, one hydrant, allegedly backed by one ‘influential’ Qaiser Baloch, has resumed operations. This operation reportedly enjoys full support from officers within the Anti-Theft Cell of the KWSB.

With numerous illegal hydrants operating in Karachi, citizens who dutifully pay their water bills are unfairly deprived of a consistent water supply to their homes. Despite attempts to seek clarification, no response from the Anti-Thefit Cell in-charge.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 19th2024.


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