Punjab govt, Istanbul join hands for Wasa reforms

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THE NEWS, LAHORE, 09th SEPTEMBER 2013:-

CHIEF Minister Shahbaz Sharif has said that the government is striving to provide better facilities of water supply and drainage in the big cities of the province and the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa) will be reorganised under a phased reforms programme and services of Turk experts will also be acquired for this purpose.

He said that the problems regarding water supply and sewerage in Lahore as well as other major cities would have to be resolved on a priority basis.

He was talking to a delegation of Istanbul Municipality (ISKI) here on Sunday.

It was agreed in the meeting that the Punjab government and ISKI would cooperate in the capacity-building and introducing reforms in Wasa.

Talking to the Turk delegation, the CM said that the Punjab government wanted to introduce a modern management system of water supply and drainage of waste and rainwater. He said there was a need to reorganize the entire structure of Wasa under a well-coordinated and comprehensive plan. He said modern services would be provided to the citizens through capacity-building of the agency. He said that full benefit would be taken from the experience and expertise of Istanbul Municipality for the upgrade of the existing outdated sewerage and drainage system.

Shahbaz said an agreement would be signed with Turk Municipality for the capacity-building of Wasa and introduction of modern management system. He directed the authorities concerned to undertake short, medium and long term planning for providing better services to the citizens.

Performance of Wasa could be improved through modern management system, he said, stressing upon the Istanbul Municipality to cooperate in evolving a short-term plan before the next monsoon so that the problems regarding rainwater could be resolved. He asked the Istanbul Municipality to prepare a pilot project for the supply of water as well as improvement of sewerage and drainage system, adding that all-out facilities would be provided to the Turk experts in Punjab. He said that task of capacity-building of Wasa would be outsourced in a transparent manner. He said that instead of temporary measures, modern and comprehensive planning should be made for moving ahead. The chief minister said that provision of the best services to the citizens was the responsibility of the government, maintaining that in view of the increasing population, an effective strategy should also be devised for checking wastage of water.

The delegation of the Istanbul Municipality assured Shahbaz that all-out cooperation would be extended to the Punjab government for improving water management and drainage system. The delegation said the system of water supply and sewerage had been completely changed through a comprehensive programme in Istanbul and now excellent services were available to the citizens in this regard. The delegation said services of experts would be provided for improving efficiency of Wasa in the provincial metropolis.

Punjab Minister for Food Bilal Yaseen, MNA Hamza Shahbaz, Khawaja Ahmed Hasaan, the secretary Housing, commissioner Lahore Division, Lahore DCO, LDA director general, Was MD as well as senior officials of ISKI were present.

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