Drinking water crisis deepens in Mohmand Agency

Originally posted on November 4, 2016


GHALLANAI: The water crisis has deepened in Mohmand as the price for a single water tanker has risen to Rs1, 800.

The residents of Ghallanai, the administrative headquarters of Mohmand Agency and surrounding localities were forced to fetch water in donkey carts and handcarts from far-off springs. Many also fetched shakiwater on their backs or on the backs of donkeys.

The water table depleted due to the long dry season in Mohmand Agency. The non-completion of the water supply schemes, alleged irregularities and lack of proper check and balance system was also blamed for the prevailing drinking water crises in the area.

The development work on the Gandao small dam in Ghallanai had been suspended after a militants’ attack on the site in 2014 and could not be resumed so far. The dam was planned to be completed with an estimated cost of Rs490 million. Once completed the water reservoir would supply drinking water to the 24,000 population in Ghallanai town and surrounding areas.

The construction work on the project could not be resumed despite availability of ample funds. The office-bearers of various social welfare organisations including Mir Afzal Khan Mohmand, Malik Saleem Sardar, Behram Khan and others alleged that the officials of the political administration and Fata Secretariat in Peshawar were involved in corrupt practices in water supply schemes in Mohmand.

They said the funds meant for water supply schemes went into the pockets of government officials. “Several such water supply schemes have been shown completed in the documents but did not exist on the ground,” Mir Afzal alleged.

He claimed the government had allocated Rs300 million for water supply schemes in the last annual development programme for Mohmand Agency but only Rs50 million funds could be utilised.

The elders demanded probe into the embezzlement in the water supply schemes and transparency in future schemes.When contacted, sub-divisional Officer at the Public Health Department Noorullah Khan said the department was carrying out 34 water supply schemes with an estimated cost of Rs250 million in Mohmand Agency. “Once completed, these schemes would solve the water crisis to a great extent,” he added.

He said these schemes would be provided solar panel systems to ensure round-the-clock provision of water to the inhabitants. He said the department was ensuring transparency in the schemes.

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