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Dissenting bureaucrat stops K-IV committee in its tracks

Escalates decision-making to higher forum

SAMAA | - Posted: May 28, 2020 | Last Updated: 8 months ago
Posted: May 28, 2020 | Last Updated: 8 months ago
Dissenting bureaucrat stops K-IV committee in its tracks

The opening of K-IV at Kinjhar Lake. Image: Nespak report 2019

One member of the Karachi Water & Sewage Board has attempted to alter the path of decision-making on a mega water supply canal for the city. He has insisted that the matter be referred to a higher-level Steering Committee which is populated by more senior bureaucrats.

The Sindh government has been grappling with the K-IV project that has been stalled since 2018 because of major problems. It formed a technical committee and a sub-committee with experts and bureaucrats to come up with solutions so the canal gets built.

For our full coverage of K-IV

First the design of K-IV was sent to Nespak for an independent evaluation. When Nespak came back with a damning report, Osmani challenged it. The canal was originally designed by Osmani & Co and was being built by the FWO.

Oddly enough, the technical committee rejected Nespak’s criticism and instead asked Osmani & Co to only make some changes but stick with the same old route.

When the KW&SB met on May 19, however, a board member, Suleman Chandio, who is also a former KW&SB MD, raised strong concerns over the technical and sub-technical committee reports and the conclusions they reached. Chandio felt that the chairman and secretary of both committees were not water experts and were not fully aware of the ground realities of the project. The technical committee was headed by LG Secretary Roshan Ali Shaikh as chairman and KWSB MD Asadullah Khan was secretary.

Chandio did not understand why Nespak’s criticism had been set aside even though it warned the route to bring Keenjhar lake’s water to Karachi was not “feasible”. “Despite this, the technical/sub-technical committees in their final report allowed Osmani & Co to go with the same design along with some modification,” he said.  The KW&SB members agreed with Chandio and decided to refer the case to the Steering Committee.

This was confirmed by two board members who were at that meeting. They said that Chandio emphatically stated that he felt that the technical/sub-technical committee findings were not “accurate” and the case should be presented before the Steering Committee for final approval.

According to them, he said that Nespak highlighted some major flaws in the K-IV design.
The Steering Committee was formed in 2018 by Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and consists of the federal and provincial secretaries, KWSB managing director, KIV project director and experts. The secretary for Planning & Development chairs it.

The May 19 meeting was chaired by Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah. The meeting was attended by board members, former KWSB MD Suleman Chandio, LG Secretary Roshan Ali Shaikh, KWSB MD Asadullah Khan, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar, KIV Project Director Assad Zamin, KWSSIP Project Director Ayub Shaikh and water experts.

After a meeting, a routine handout was issued by the office of the secretary of Local Government but it contained no details of Chandio’s points. “We are aimed to make the project a legendary example of deliverance and transparency,” it said. The handout said that highly trained professionals were giving their services for K-IV and that the team of highly motivated professionals, who are working with professionalism and enthusiasm and want to make it a success.

Related stories: For more background
May 10: Second Energy China company expresses interest in finishing Karachi’s K-IV
April 27: Old route, fresh costing for K-IV, committee tells Sindh govt
Nov 14: Sindh govt tasks technical experts with K-IV design check
Oct 25: K-IV, Bahria Town and DHA City

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