Installation of Sewage Treatment Plants takes another year: MCI

ISLAMABAD:The much-trumpeted plan of installing four Sewage Treatment Plants (STPs) in the federal capital may take another year as the authorities concerned are yet to acquire land for the facility.

The Central Development Working Party (CDWP) in its recent meeting had given green signal to materialize the project of establishing four treatment plants of Rs 3.51 billion in two phases (two in each phase), the official source in Metropolitan Corporation Islamabad (MCI) told reporter.

“The process of installing two STPs will be taking more than eight months,” the official asserted.

The idea of setting up four STPs in the outskirts of Islamabad was floated by the Capital Development Authority (CDA) to filter the water falling into the Korang River and Rawal Dam and already been stalled for the last ten years for one or another reason , exposing residents of twin cities of Rawalpindi and Islamabad to serious health hazards.

The Planning Commission of Pakistan had asked MCI to complete the land acquisition, Operation and Maintenance process on priority to ensure timely release of funds for the project at earliest. they said and added that the corporation had already written to the CDA for allocating land for all of four STPs and the response was being awaited.

In this letter, the sources said, the MCI requested the CDA to provide technical and financial assistance to finish this much-needed facility on time.

The CDA was asked to evaluate the status of demarcated lands for the project and if the designated area was privately owned, it would facilitate MCI in purchasing such piece of land, they added.

To a query, the sources said the departments concerned had intensified their efforts to complete this long awaited initiative, adding that the Supreme Court was also pursing this matter and directed the authorites concerned to execute this project at earliest.

Sources, expressing their optimism said the project would see the day of light this time as the Punjab government, which was to share 36 per cent of its contribution in it, had also set to give its share in this regard.

When contacted CDA, the authority spokesman confirmed that the agency had received the corporation (MCI) request, adding that both the departments were jointly working on the said proposition.

The plants, which were to be installed at Bari Imam, Lower and Upper Shahdra and Simly dam, had been delayed for the last eight years due to bureaucratic hiccups and some technical issues.

Meanwhile, the growth of illegal settlements in and around the designated project sites had also become a stumbling block in the execution of project, the sources added.

It may be mentioned here that the project concept-I (PC-I) for the treatment plants had been prepared by the government in 2012 with an estimated cost of Rs 2 billion at that time.

Previously, the apex court took a suo moto notice of the pollution in the Rawal Lake and directed the CDA, Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (Pak-EPA) and the Islamabad Commissioner to install the plants.

After revision of the PC-I last year, its cost had increased to Rs3.5 billion.

Last year, the EPA submitted a report to the top court and underscored the immediate, short-term and long-term measures to protect the water in the dam.

The report also suggested enhancing supervisory workforce to monitor the quality of the water in the dam, regularly.

It was also proposed to lay new sewerage lines in catchment area near the dam while it also urged legal actions against the citizens involved in littering and polluting the dam, showing that some 25 housing societies and other adjoining areas were perturbed over the non-installation of the STPs.