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Commission threatens ban on construction in Karachi's DHA, Clifton till resolution of territorial dispute


13 The one-member water commission appointed by the Supreme Court to probe Sindh's water troubles on Monday threatened banning all construction in Karachi's Defence Housing Authority (DHA) and Clifton areas until a territorial dispute between the two is resolved.

The commissioner, retired Justice Amir Hani Muslim, also slammed the DHA and the defence ministry — which has the authority's administrative control — for failing to take appropriate action for the provision of clean water in the upscale housing locality and the disposal of its sewage.

The commissioner, in the court, said that he would ban all construction in DHA and Clifton until the resolution of dispute between the two but there was no mention of the ban in the written orders issued later.

A report regarding water treatment plants and sewerage — asked for at an earlier hearing — was presented to the commission today, which claimed that two treatments plants in Phase I and Phase VIII of DHA are being built, with the latter having the capability of treating 2.4 million gallons per day (mgd) of water.

Justice Muslim asked the joint secretary defence if he had done his homework on the matter and asked him how much water was actually being used in DHA. The authority informed that between five and six mgd of water was being used within the housing authority's limits.

"These are your figures. People also get water from tankers and other sources," the commissioner retorted.

He asked the authority to "realise" its own responsibilities while noting that DHA should have the capacity to provide at least 10mgd through its water treatment plants in order to cater to the needs of the area, especially keeping in view the mushrooming number of high rise projects being approved by DHA.

Disposal of sewage into the sea

The commission also expressed its anger over untreated sewage being channeled into the sea. It noted that while new construction is being permitted on whim, there seems to be a severe lack of planning in the area.

The commission also expressed its anger over untreated sewage being channeled into the sea. It noted that while new construction is being permitted on whim, there seems to be a severe lack of planning in the area.

He also held both the Ministry of Defence and DHA responsible for the improper disposal of sewage.

Explore: Is Pakistan running out of fresh water?

When asked about the number of commercial and business centres in DHA, the housing authority officials were caught unawares. They informed the commission that the authority was planned such that the waste of its phases I-VII would be treated at a plant in Mehmoodabad, at which Justice Muslim noted that the Karachi Municipal Corporation (KMC) and the water board were themselves in dire straights.

The water board's chief, however, denied the claim, saying no such planning had been done.

When informed that around 580 million gallons of sewage water was being disposed off into the sea everyday, the commission asked appropriate action to be taken so that by June 2019, only treated water is let out in the sea.


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