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LAHORE: A concession agreement was signed between the Punjab government and a consortium of three Chinese companies here on Tuesday for the manufacturing and installation of water meters in the provincial capital.

Through Xinlang Lahore Water Metering (SMC-Private) Limited, a special purpose vehicle created for this project, the consortium comprising Wenling Younio Water Meter Company Limited, Jiangsu Xinlang Environmental Company (Private) Limited and China Energy Engineering Group Jiangsu No.3 Electric Power Construction Company Limited are responsible for the manufacturing and installation of water meters.

While addressing the event, Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar said that this project is a forerunner initiative under public-private-partnership (PPP) mode in Pakistan taken by the Punjab Government and it will be replicated in other cities after successful implementation in Lahore. “The total cost of the project is Rs 9.3 billion while 711,265 water meters (93 percent domestic and 7 percent commercial) will be installed in Lahore. The establishment of a local manufacturing unit to assemble water meters will create employment generation for the residents,” he added.

He acknowledged the efforts of the Planning and Development Board, WASA Lahore, Punjab PPP Authority and allied departments, adding that despite rupee-dollar parity, the pace of work continued to make this project successful. Planning and Development Board Chairman Abdullah Khan Sumbal declared the project as a revolutionary plan and the first of its kind to be launched in Pakistan in collaboration with private partners. He said that the signing ceremony will boost the confidence of the private sector and will pave the way for the successful implementation of mega road sector PPP projects, which are currently underbidding.

WASA Managing Director Lahore Muhammad Tanveer said that presently WASA is sending bills based on the size of the consumers’ houses, but after the installation of meters they would be charged for their actual usage, and no one would have to pay an extra bill. Replying to a query, he said that meters installation would minimize wastage of water and maintain its quality, as people would be conscious about any leakage and will report leakage. “It would also stop the practice of extracting more groundwater and help maintain its level,” he added.

Punjab PPP Authority Chief Executive Officer Amjad Ali Awan highlighted that every consumer of Lahore, either domestic or commercial, will benefit from this initiative. He said that the signing ceremony is a major milestone achieved and declared that in this context completion of projects under the public-private partnership is the best course of action. He claimed that the Authority will increase the development portfolio of Punjab by executing PPPs across multiple sectors.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2022

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