KARACHI: Around Rs 22.45 billion has been wasted on setting up 2,000 Reverse Osmosis (RO) plants under three phase project in Sindh including Karachi in the past six years. Owais Muzaffar alias Tappi, former Minister Sindh Local Government Department (LGD) had awarded this job to a single vendor without adopting an open tender process, according to the available record of LGD. No audit of the first phase for setting up 531 RO plants in Sindh including Karachi has been carried out since 2012. Huge public funds loss has been attributed to financial corruption, poor maintenance and non follow up to check the quality and performance of the project awarded to Pak Oasis Company. “Owais alias Tappi, a close associate of former President Asif Ali Zardari is said to be the owner of this firm which had been awarded this project”. Director General Audit Sindh in his annual audit report, has termed the RO plants installation process not only up-to the mark but malpractices in acceptance of bid have been causing millions of rupees loss to government. Sub-standard filtration plants, solar generation system, poor engineering, irregular expenditure, without opening of tender, underrated specifications, very high bid rates, irregular appointment of project directors, non-conducting of laboratory tests of water and unjustified spending on operation and maintenance are the main base of corruption.. The reports of the water samples taken from several RO plants from different districts have established unequivocally that water being produced does not meet quality standards fit for human consumption, he concluded. It has been confirmed through LGD record that around Rs 18.76 billion has been given to contractor for setting up RO plants at the designated areas all over Sindh including Karachi. Similarly more than Rs 5.75 billion has also been paid for Karachi project. Operational and maintenance amount that had been released during year 2013-14 in Karachi alone is said to be more than Rs 1.25 billion just in name of paper projects. During 2014-15 an amount of Rs 1.72 billion on same pretext were given to company on Lyari and Kemari projects. In 2015-16, Rs 1.70 billion were gifted in name of maintenance and on phony expenditures to same company. Similarly, Rs 2 billion have so far been paid on projects in over all of Sindh areas. Under three phase project, 500 in first phase, 750 were to be set up in second and same number of RO plants in final phase were to be completed by 2017, according to LGD record. Under this project, 750 had been installed in different cities and towns in Sindh from those only 379 are functional, the RO plants firm revealed. Poor maintenance and corrupt practices have been attributed to the non-functional of 1,621 RO plants most of them have only been shown on the papers. In Karachi all of the 19 RO plants, 125 RO plants out of installed 525 in Tharparkar district and 118 such plants in Umerkot, Badin and Thatta are without any utility for people, officials of RO plants informed. The question whether or not while awarding contracts to the company has been in sheer violation of Sindh Public Procurement Rules, lamented members of civil society. Qamer Qureshi, Chairman Economic Forum Pakistan said there was a need to examine and investigate the matter by LGD and concerned government quarters. This job should have been awarded to Public Health Engineering and Rural Development Department working under LGD, the executing Department as mandated by Sindh Government Rules of Business. This project was meant for 21 cities and towns in Sindh including Karachi, Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Tando Muhammad Khan, Mitiari, Dadu, Badin, Thatta, Umerkot, Sanghar, Tando Allahyar, Sukkur, Ghotki, Khairpur, Nuashehro Feroz, Shaheed Benazirabad, Larkana, Kumber, Jacobabad, Khashmore and Shikarpur.