Hazara Town Under the Mercy of Private Tube Wells & Water Tanker Mafias

Hazara town has some very painful, traumatic and dangerous incidents and stories with the water tankers and their role in water crises. Where, in February 2013, an explosives-filled water truck carrying between 800 and 1,000 kilos of explosives, entered Hazara town and exploded. 91 people were killed and 190 people were injured during a busy hour of the evening. An entire market with recently constructed, beautiful shops was totally demolished into ground. Although our home was a little bit away from the scene of the tragedy, the blast was audible within a 15-kilometer radius, shaking the entire town and shattering the window panes and the doors which I can never forget may be.

Alas! More children and adults have given their life under water tanker accidents due to the narrow streets, road at Hazara Town and the excess supply of water tanks. Recently a small child who was riding a bicycle and crossing the road suffered a terrible loss of life in Mari colony. And since the drivers accuse the individuals of coming there by mistake, nobody is held accountable for such events.
It also causes many issues to the locals, businesses, and create much noise pollutions in these small and narrow streets and roads of Hazara town where there hardly the small cars can move.

Broadly looking, Baluchistan is the richest province of Pakistan but has the lowest standards of living for its locals. The unfortunate province has plenty of resources on its territory for its residents, including gas, water, and other natural resources, yet it still has the worst water and gas problems. Every day, the situation of a gas and water deficit is getting worst. Summertime when there is the greatest need to have water, there is no water at all. People are not receiving the most basic facilities due to inadequate governance and public accountability. Only one third of houses in Quetta (shaal), according to data, are connected to the public water supply system and receive water for one to half hour per day still one doesn’t know it’s clean water or no.

Hazara Town has the water problems for so long that I can’t even remember if the government had ever started bringing water to our homes. Despite buying the government water supply pipelines and having tube wells connections, the inhabitants of Hazara Town are getting water from the private suppliers from the past many years which cost from 2000 to 3000 per month for only one hour. Yet, for many people, that is frequently insufficient, so when an emergency arises, they turn to water tankers.

Every home must pay around thousands to connect to a private tube well, and if a homeowner cannot afford to do so, he or she will not have a connection, which will still not ensure proper water supply. Because of load shedding, water is frequently not provided to the public because the cost of the electric motor would too high for them. Also, the private tube wells is frequently paid by the water mafia tankers not to give water so they can do their business. One of the rumors is that the private tube well suppliers in the area of Hazara Town pay the WASA 450 lacs a month for not providing water to the residents. As the government tube wells are also given to the individuals elites on lease.

The beneficiaries which include both water tankers and private suppliers however, have been seen involved in stopping the water in duly times of when people need it at utmost. The issue has been faced since many years but there has not been seen any significant step to tackle the problem. While the tanker mafias continue to bring water from 3000 to 4000 thousands. The rule of water tanker mafias start up in the summer when the private tube wells also stop supplying water, and they give 5000 per tanker. In an emergency, if someone calls them late at night or early in the morning or urgently, they even bring in 7000. I observed them taking 6000 from the house while attending a funeral and a public event. All the community members were also talking about their own experiences. The tension is rising for non-availability and soaring of prices. Because every average lower- and middle-class person, who has limited local sources of income inside of Hazara town and in Quetta even though very few Hazara are now doing business in Quetta level, is suffering from these issues and protesting to the local MPA, press clubs, and many times the Hazara women blocked the main Western Bypass road in protest against the Water and Sanitation Authority (WASA) for its failure.

According to data’s, there are 16 to 19 tube wells located throughout the town of Hazara that are controlled by both hazara and Non hazara, among which some of them do provide the facilities to the people but still those are not enough for the area some times. People are compel to ask water from private tube wells outside of the town of Hazara. Those tube wells out of the hazara town are agricultural tube wells which are made for the agricultural purposes and not for the commercial purposes, are providing water to the people under the nose of Government and WASA. Putting to the public the cost of their own well. The water stops flowing anytime when such private and illegal tubular wells fail to pay the light and commissions stuffs. Brining people under the mercy of water tankers mafias.

In order to put a check and balance on the private tube wells as well as take control of the government tube well, the WASA is not yet prepared and not agree too. Yet, some individuals built their own tube wells inside their homes and properties without a permit for their own personal use. Law and order is therefore absent. For the lower and middle classes, the capitalism system has created a scenario in which they have lost all hope for a better life. The mafia, the ruling class, and the local MPAs—who were chosen by the voters to provide the bare minimum of amenities—failed to do so and kept quiet about it. Their silence makes people wonder a lot.

Thus, there is a need to demand a permanent solution (zero compromises) to overcome the rising tension to ensure the well-being of public caused by water. For taking actions against the tanker mafias and the private tube wells, the government tube wells and water suppliers should take the responsibility to have a peer view of the situation and reconsider their actions in the past days. And work for the government water tube wells for the people which cost 300 to 500 bills unlike the other areas in Quetta.

People need to absolutely resolve water issues, they should avoid the water mafia takers on the narrow streets of Hazara. Also, the private, illegal tube wells inside and outside of the town of Hazara should be avoided. Hazara town’s local Government tube wells have to be operational with a reasonable bills. And even if the MPA is unable to resolve the problem on his own, he ought to take some responsible action against it alongside the people. The locals need to be aware of their fundamental rights, issues, and freedom to ask questions. Rather than opting for pricey alternatives or other compromises for their basic needs. As everyone cannot afford those bills and unjust.

Furthermore, both the government and the people should seriously look at the challenges related to climate change. As well as the public and government should adopt water conservation policies and activities.