KWSB One-Window Operation

One-window facility of KWSB fails to deliver


By Jamil Khan | KARACHI


THE campaign initiated last month to enhance revenue sources of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) has failed to produce the expected results with the utility still in heavy debt, Daily Times learnt on Thursday.

According to KWSB sources, the management, under great pressure due to the severe financial crisis had initiated a one-window operation facility at the Managing Director Secretariat located on Shahrah-e-Faisal, in a bid to facilitate new consumers, as well as easing the procedure of clearance of dues for defaulters.

The establishment of the one-window facility was an attempt to generate revenue for the facility by encouraging people to acquire legal connections and by simplifying the process of payment of dues. There are only around 1.5 million registered consumers in the city, along with thousands of illegal connections, especially in slums and industrial areas, only 20 percent of which regularly pay their water bills.

Digging deep for ways to generate revenue, the KWSB has also warned of strict action against illegal connections, especially obtained by builders to supply millions of gallons of water on a daily basis for their projects spread throughout the city, particularly in Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Jamshed Town, Saddar, Lyari and Gulberg.

However, according to the sources, the main reason for the failure of the KWSB’s recent drive against defaulters was the corrupt officials deputed, who merrily minted millions of rupees in bribes, leaving the KWSB to suffer and ponder. The sources added that the KWSB’s inefficacy is also to blame as, of the few hundred consumers who actually turned up for new connections, none were provided the connections within 24 hours, a claim being made by the KWSB with much confidence.

“Although the process for new connections has indeed been simplified, with much less complicated forms and the abolishment of formalities such as submission of lease papers or utility bills, the connections are not actually provided within a week after one applies,” said Asif Ali, a resident of New Karachi.

Moreover, the fact that the KWSB has set up only one office, on Shahrah-e-Faisal, is also a dissuading factor, as residents of most localities, such as Orangi, Kemari, Landhi, Korangi, Bin Qasim and Baldia, are put off by the distance. The extent of KWSB’s troubles can be gauged from the fact that the Karachi Electric Supply Company had disconnected power supply to the head office of the utility, although the KWSB had cleared dues of Rs 100 million, but it was unable to pay the remaining Rs 180 million.

Even when this scribe visited the one-window facility, the officials were idly conversing and refused to divulge information, with one official stating that the KWSB Managing Director Ghulam Arif, who was unavailable for comments despite repeated attempts, had strictly forbidden the officials from entertaining media queries.

– Published in Daily Times | Nov 7, 2008

~ by jamilkhan on November 11, 2008.

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