THE Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) has failed to complete Allama Iqbal Road sewerage project due to inability and corruption of its officials, The News has learnt. The project worth Rs 550 million was initiated by Wasa in June 2011, with the financial support of the provincial government for installation of main sewer lines (46 inch) from Dharampura Bridge to Garhi Shahu Bridge. The City District Government (CDG) had given three months deadline to Wasa to complete the project but its officials failed to complete the same.
The slow-paced construction work on the said road is not only causing frequent traffic jams but also becomes a permanent source of public nuisance particularly for the business community. There are a number of banks, educational institutions, food outlets and other commercial businesses there but dug up roads for past six months have ruined their business. Majority of the shopkeepers at Allama Iqbal Road said the CDGL was responsible for their business losses, which were being gradually increasing by the day due delay in completing the project.
They said they were already facing immense problems for running their businesses due to frequent loadshedding and other circumstances of the country. They said delay in this project had worsened the situation for them. Sources in Wasa told The News the project could have been completed in time but the corruption of the Wasa officials was the basic reason behind its delay. They added Wasa laid about 8,200 feet pipelines on Allama Iqbal Road from railway station to Jamia Naeemia, Chowk Garhi Shahu and from Chowk Crown Cinema to Mayo Garden and Wasa officials instead of using the standard and specific materials for this only used sludge material in covering the pipelines.
They said that four Wasa officials including DMD Iqtidar Shah, Director Tariq Muhammad, XEN Ishtiaq Tirmizi and SDO Garhi Shahu had been suspended by an inquiry committee, which initiated a probe soon after a resident of the locality complained about embezzlement by the Wasa officials. The sources further added that the construction of roadside drains have not been completed so far by Wasa and to hide their inefficiency, Wasa had extended this project from Garhi Shahu Bridge to Muhammad Nagar.
DCO Lahore Ahad Cheema could have taken action against Wasa for the delay in this project but he instead of taking action approved the extension and granted Rs 5.5 million more budget to the authority. Talking to this scribe, a senior officer of Works and Communication Department of CDGL held Wasa was responsible for delay in construction of the road. He said the works department would start construction of the road after receiving a green signal from Wasa regarding completion of work.
Talking to The News, MD WASA Dr Javed Iqbal said that government awarded such projects to Wasa during monsoon and factually the target was being achieved by the officials within the given timeframe if the days of rainy season were excluded. He said that Wasa had done almost 90 per cent work and further work would be completed soon. Javed Iqbal said that the CDGL had extended the sewer installation work from Garhi Shahu to Muhammad Nagar, which also disturbed the actual timeline of the project. DCO Lahore Ahad Cheema was contacted many times by this correspondent on his cell number but he was not available.[The News]