GOVERNOR Punjab Chaudhry Muhammad Sarwar inaugurated on Tuesday Aab-e-Pak project envisaging start of 116 water supply projects in Rawalpindi division at a cost of Rs 270 million rupees.
The project likely to be emulated in entire province is aimed at providing clean drinking water to the people.
Given the prevalence of water borne diseases, such a project certainly was need of the hour.
According to some estimates, consumption of contaminated water contributes to 40 per cent deaths nationwide every year.
As per the figures from the Health Ministry and UNICEF, more than 50,000 children below the age of 10 die every year from waterborne diseases like cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis and typhoid.
Currently, Pakistan is spending half of its total health budget for the cure of waterborne diseases. This can easily be saved if we provide safe drinking water to the people.
Projects of providing clean drinking water through installation of filtration plants were also launched by previous regimes but these could not be sustained as no mechanism was developed to oversee the proper maintenance of filtration plants. Due to non change of filters, these facilities rather became a source of contaminated water.
We therefore will suggest the Punjab government to approve SOPs for proper and timely maintenance of filtration plants including change of filters and other components.
Most importantly, such schemes should not confine only to the urban areas but also be expanded to the rural areas where the situation of clean drinking water and sanitation is far more serious.
Whilst inaugurating Aab-e-Pak project, the Governor Punjab said if Prime Minister Imran Khan gives him the sewerage system, he will refresh the whole system of the province.
Indeed in most of the cities the sewerage system has become depleted whilst in some it is totally nonexistent.
Since the Governor Punjab has the foreign exposure and seen the modern sewage system in countries such as the UK, we will suggest the federal government to entrust the responsibility to Ch Muhammad Sarwar to revamp the sewerage system.
No resource constraint should be allowed to impede the work on improvement of the system in order to maintain cleanliness and protect the people from different diseases.