“Water, water everywhere, but not a drop to drink”, has begun to hold true for Karachi, Pakistan’s largest city located along the Arabian Sea, with a host of famous beaches. Yet the city has apparently become parched due to decrease in the flow of the Indus River, which feeds its aquifers, besides the laxity on the part of the government to deal with the problem that is becoming intense with each passing day.
If the residents of Karachi are to be believed, water shortage has intensified so much over the past few years that the public has no choice, but to buy water from private contractors to fulfil their needs. This has given a fillip to the ‘tanker mafia’, which is minting money by charging monumental sums from the affected masses, who have warned of staging protests, if nothing is done soon to redress the issue.
The worst affected are the economically backward masses, who can ill-afford to earn a decent living, let alone buy exorbitantly priced water tankers. Going by residents’ accounts, water tankers cost as high as 5,000 PKR, leaving the financially challenged masses with no choice, but to arrange funds somehow to buy one for their survival.
“There is absolutely no water supply in the city. People are facing immense difficulty in performing daily chores including washing utensils, doing the laundry and even bathing,” said Mohammed Ahmed, another resident.
He added that there were a number of people, who were the sole breadwinners of large families and barely managed to earn around 15,000 PKR per month. “The situation is really hard for them to handle as they have to manage various other expenses too of their entire households,” he added.
“I came to live in Karachi three years ago. My family has bought a house here, but all these years we have never received any water supply,” said Mohammed Sayed, a resident.
He added that the water shortage is so grievous that the residents have no choice, but to purchase water tankers. “We are managing with the help of water tankers. A small ‘Mazda’ truck tanker costs 2,200 PKR and we use it for 15-20 days,” he added.
“No MNA or MP has ever contacted us. They just approach us around election time, asking for votes. They are nowhere to be seen thereafter,” maintained Mohammed Sayed.
“Karachi is facing extreme shortage of water. We appeal to the government to resolve issues related to its water supply at the earliest. God willing, we shall get justice, else the public will take to the roads and stage a wholehearted protest to oust the ‘tanker mafia’ and get the water supply restored,” said Nazakat Ali, another resident.