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Why six experts on KWSB’s board resigned back to back

Nothing to do with new chief's appointment, says LG secretary

SAMAA | - Posted: Jul 28, 2020 | Last Updated: 7 months ago
SAMAA |
Posted: Jul 28, 2020 | Last Updated: 7 months ago
Why six experts on KWSB’s board resigned back to back

Photo: Online

The Karachi Water and Sewerage Board’s senior management team has seen the resignation of six out of eight private members in a matter of months.

They have refused to be on the board of directors. Their resignations got attention as it was a collective move at the time of the appointment of the new KWSB managing director.

Suleman Chandio, the former KWSB MD and Tariq Hussain resigned on July 15. Simi Sadaf Kamal and Barrister Abdul Sattar Pirzada resigned the very next day on July 16. Two other members, Asad Ali Shah and Rizwan Rauf, resigned from the Board on March 19 and March 20.

It started getting attention when the resignations showed a chain pattern.

Initially, most of the media linked the resignations to the appointment of the new KWSB chief Khalid Shaikh in place of Asadullah Khan.

The media reports were that the private members were not ready to work under the newly appointed KWSB MD as he was a grade-19 officer when Khan was a grade-20 officer.

But this is not true.

A source in the KWSB, on the condition of anonymity, told SAMAA Digital the real reasons behind the resignations. The source said key government officers were not considering the recommendations of the private members seriously and made changes to the minutes of the meetings without the consent of the private members.

“Suleman Chandio had raised concerns over the changing of his recommendations made in the minutes of the meeting held on May 19, 2020,” the source said.

SAMAA Digital got in touch with Chandio and other members to get their version on the unusual resignations.

Chandio—a senior retired bureaucrat—says his health won’t allow him to continue working as a Board member.

On the changes to the meeting minutes, Chandio politely declined to comment saying that he is bound to not disclose government matters, as per government policy.

“I am a retired government officer and even abide by the services rules,” he said, explaining that it’s like he couldn’t even hear the question asked.

But Chandio ruled out a connection between the resignations and the appointment of the new KWSB chief.

He said four meetings of the have been held on November 22, 2019, January 2, 2020, February 19, 2020 and May 19, 2020.

Sadaf, too, said it had nothing to do with the KWSB chief. But refuse to comment further.

Another member, Tariq Hussain, said he was not ready to commit to the said development.

Barrister Abdul Sattar Pirzada said he resigned due to some personal engagements and it had nothing to do with the new appointment.

Rizwan Rauf and Asad Ali Shah both resigned citing personal engagements too.

Sindh Local Government Secretary Roshan Ali Shaikh says a particular mafia is working in the KWSB which does not want to bring improvements and reforms to the Board.

Shaikh says some KWSB officers are backing this mafia as their monetary interests are at stake.

“They do not want to bring improvement to Karachi’s water supply and KWSB’s water hydrant system. That is why they are spreading misunderstanding among the Board members,” Shaikh added.

The LG secretary said the minutes of every Board meeting were being shared on a particular WhatsApp group—specially made to exchange views among Board members.

“The minutes of every Board meeting is finalised after confirming with the members,” he said.

The former KWSB managing director, Khan, says the private members have resigned to avoid becoming part of any inquiry in future by the anti-corruption establishment or NAB.

He said it did not have anything to do with the appointment of the new KWSB MD.

Khan says the Board is defunct after the resignation of six private members.   

How does the KWSB board of directors system work?

On October 7, 2019, the Sindh government reconstituted KWSB’s Board of Directors through a notification.

The framework was: 15 members in total with 7 from the government and 8 private sector experts.

The Sindh minister for local government was to act as the chairperson and the KWSB managing director as its secretary.

The board has the following terms of references through which it work to bring reform and improvement to Karachi’s water supply system.

  1. The tenure of private members shall be four years.
  2. The representatives of any member will attend the meeting.
  3. The power to appoint the KWSB managing director is vested with the Sindh government. The Board should be empowered to hire the MD/CEO.
  4. The Board shall prepare a five year strategic plan of utility, periodically review and amend it and lay down the key performance indicators to help monitor its performance from time to time. Other core responsibilities of the Board shall include the appointment of the managing director and internal auditor, reforms managers, constitution of various board committees, review and approval of annual budget and approve the tariff structure of various services. The board shall be authorised to grant approval to expenditure to the tune of Rs100 million.
  5. All the decision making of KWSB shall be done through the Board.
  6. The chairman shall stop using article 6(1)C and all such cases shall be presented timely in the Board.
  7. The Board shall revisit and review the KW&SB Act-1996 and suggest improvements agreed in the Committee of Cooperation-CoC documents with the assistance of RWG.
  8. The Board shall determine the ways and means to make KWSB more autonomous with clear administrative mandates for routine decision making.
  9. The Board shall approve new rules of business/services rules for the whole organisation.
  10. The Board shall meet at least 10 times in a year.[the quorum of the Board shall one half of the members]. Apart from scheduled meetings, on half of the members shall be empowered to requisition any emergent meeting to deliberate a matter of extraordinary importance.

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