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LAHORE: The Punjab government has constituted an 11-member committee to review the proposal to streamline issues related to the water supply and sewerage systems execution, operation and maintenance.

In this connection, the Punjab Housing Urban Development and Public Health Engineering Department (HUD&PHED) issued a notification, said sources on Saturday.

As per the notification, Punjab Information and Culture Minister Amir Mir Syed Azfar Ali Nasir and Punjab HUD&PHED Minister Syed Azhar Ali Nasir will be Convener and Co-Convener, respectively, of the committee while the other members include Punjab Additional Chief Secretary, Planning and Development Board Chairman, Punjab HUD&PHE Secretary, Punjab Local Government and Community Development Secretary, Punjab Law and Parliamentary Affairs Secretary, Punjab S&GAD Secretary (Regulations), Urban Unit Chief Executive Officer, Punjab Planning and Development Secretary, and one co-opted by the Committee.

The Committee has been given the task of reviewing the proposal prepared by the Planning and Development Board and submitting its report/recommendations to the Punjab Housing Urban Development and Public Health Engineering Department, which will be tabled before the Punjab Cabinet through its Standing Committee on Legislative Business and Privatisation for consideration and decision.

In the proposal, outlined in the notification, the local government and community development department has been given the responsibility of providing water supply and sewerage services within their jurisdiction as per law; it should conceive and identify water supply and sewerage schemes as a sponsoring agency and reflect in development programmes.

Moreover, the PHED will only act as an executing agency and after the completion of a project, the PHED will hand over the scheme to the sponsoring agency for operation and maintenance; however, there will be an option with the concerned local government to outsource operation and maintenance of the scheme to PHED or takeover the scheme for its operation and maintenance.

However, the PHED will not execute any scheme relating to the construction of open drains, street pavement, tuff-tiles, soling, etc.; execution of such scheme will be the responsibility of the local government and community development department through local councils.

It was also proposed that the HUD&PHE Department will take measures to enhance the design capacity of the Water and Sanitation Agencies (WASAs) and also examine their role viz-a-viz development authorities.

This exercise aimed to explore possibilities of separating them from development authorities and subsequently, bring them directly under the ambit of an administrative department. However, the notification said, no other agency except WASA will execute water supply and sewerage schemes within the jurisdiction of WASAs.

Under the proposal, a committee comprising senior officers and departmental representatives will examine all legislation pertaining to the provision of water supply, including the LDA Act 1975, Development of Cities Act 1976, Punjab Aab-e-Pak Authority Act 2019, Punjab Water Act 2019 and Punjab Local Government Act 2022, and suggest suitable amendments to eliminate overlapping or duality of functions.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2024

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