4 water-related projects remained incomplete during 2016

Lack of funds, interest by govt

Zubair Qureshi

Almost four projects related to water research, conservation and purification were approved by the government during 2016 but could not see the light of the day due to lack of interest by the government. Planning, Development & Reform Ministry did not release funds for the projects and as a result they could not be initiated. This was told during a meeting convened for a detailed review on last two years performance of Pakistan Council of Research in Water Resources (PCRWR).
The shocking revelations have been made at a time when in Punjab, Chief Minister Mian Muhammad Shahbaz Sharif has declared almost emergency taking upon him to ensure access of every individual to pure and potable water. The meeting also deliberated on a report presented on the occasion according to which PCRWR has three ongoing Public Sector Development Projects (PSDP) including demarcation of groundwater quality zones in Indus plain and marginal areas for sustainable development and management of groundwater; integrated water resource management in the highly depleted Pishin-Lora basin of Balochistan; and establishment of National Capacity Building Institute for Water Quality Management.
Federal Minister for Science & Technology RanaTanveer Hussain while chairing the meeting expressed his dismay over the non-execution of the said projects and asked the chairman of the council he could better take up the matter with him when he learnt first time about the funds’ problem. It is very unfortunate that clean drinking water is not easily available to everyone, given the fact that it is the right of every Pakistani, he said. Complete one year has passed and they (the projects) have not been initiated so far.
Other than the PSDPs the Chairman PCRWR also shared the list of projects that the PCRWR had initiated in collaboration with different National & International organizations. During the overview, the Chairman PCRWR shared the alarming situation of environmental degradation of the Manchhar Lake. While discussing the internal challenges that PCRWR is facing, the Federal Minister for Science & Technology took serious notice of inefficiency and ill performance of the technical staff of the organization.
He passed a standing order effective immediately that any official reported for inefficiency or corruption may be suspended and inquiry be launched for evaluating the nature of offense. No leniency or soft corner may be shown to culprits at any cost.
“We must do what must be done and that too with determination,” The Federal Minister said with a strong resolve. He appreciated the progress shown under the chairmanship of Dr Ashraf and directed him to improve the state of affairs in the organization to its maximum capacity. RanaTanveer Hussain, Federal Minister for Science & Technology also affirmed his full support in any management or administration related issue to the organization.

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