Government, International Agencies and OPP Collaboration for the Replication of OPP‘S Low Cost Sanitation Programme

8.4 OPP as Advisor to KMC’s Katchi Abadi Upgrading Programme

In 1989 the KMC’s Katchi Abadi Directorate commenced work under an Asian Development Bank (ADB) Loan Programme, in certain parts of Orangi. The work consisted of providing water, sanitation and road paving to some squatter areas. The OPP visited the areas and saw that the upgrading process was digging up sanitation lines that people had laid themselves and re-paving lanes that had been built by KHC councilors. In addition, the work that was being done was, to say the least, substandard and was destroying existing work of a far superior quality. It was a criminal destruction of peoples investment, a waste of loan money and a negation of the OPP’s work in Orangi.

In March 1989, the app prepared a small monograph on the subject and approached both the ADB and the Katchi Abadi Directorate of the I1C regarding its concerns. In the report the app explained that through the peoples efforts and the programmes initiated by the KMC councilors, large scale development had already taken place in Orangi, and that the ADB programme should aim at complimenting this development by making an investment in trunk sewers and treatment plants, and by supporting the app programme. As a result of OPP intervention the work was curtailed.

In November 1990, the app read a report in the press which said that an agreement for upgrading 2,300 acres in Orangi had been signed between the KMC and NESPAK, a Karachi based firm of consulting engineers. On further investigations it was discovered that this was a part of the ADB financed Karachi Urban Development Programme (KUDP) and that Kinhill, a foreign engineering firm were the main consultants.

The OPP tried to initiate a dialogue with the technocrats of the KMC’s Katchi Abadi Directorate, but there was no positive response from them. The OPP then, through its contacts, approached the Mayor of Karachi and a meeting was held with him in December 1990 in which the app explained its programme and its position with respect to the KUDP work in Orangi. The Mayor was supportive of the app position and after detailed meetings in which the KMC staff was also present, appointed the app as an advisor to the KMC Katchi Abadi Upgrading Programme.

Under the agreement that was worked out between the OPP and the KMC, app was to provide documentation of existing development works in sanitation, water supply, roads and lane paving in the project area. In addition, it was to identify sanitation related items for external development required in the settlements. It was also to provide design for internal sewerage lines and promote community participation in developing them. The KMC programme, meanwhile, adopted the OPP methodology and limited itself to designing and implementing external works.

After May 1991 the app attended various meetings related to the project in which the KWSB engineers and the consultants to the programme were also present. The consultants initially felt that the app was interested in replacing them as consultant to the programme and taking away the bulk of the Rs 18 million (US$ 720,00) fee that they were getting as consultants. In addition, they felt that they could also motivate and organise people if they were paid for it. However, the IGICs Katchi AbadiDirectorate, which has worked for years with communities, knew better.

During the meetings the OPP also discovered that the consultants had made no surveys of the existing work done by the people in the settlements, and that was the reason why they were not able to incorporate this in their design and work plan. Over a period of time, an understanding between the consultants and the OPP also developed.

8.5 The Balfours Design for Orangi Trunk Sewers

Kinhill/NESPAK were asked by the Karachi Water & Sewerage Board (KWSB) engineers to relate their work in Orangi to the design of trunk sewers that has been prepared by Balfours, consultants to an ODA (UK) financed project. When the OPP studied the plans prepared for the trunks it was horrified. The trunks did not pick up the work done by the Orangi communities or the KMC. In addition, the plan required 6 pumping stations in an area where there are considerable gradients. If the trunks were to be built, they would run dry, unless the Orangi residents were to dig up their sanitation lines and lay them again.

The sanitation system developed by the app follows the natural slope of the land, and through various nullahs reaches the main Orangi nullah which then empties out into the Lyari river. As such the OPP felt that the trunks should either be laid in the bed of the nullahs or parallel to them. The greater Karachi sewerage plan envisages trunks in the bed of the Lyari river as a result the river would become dry. In addition, the OPP was concerned at the enormous cost of developing the proposed trunks and realigning the existing system to link up with them. This could not be done without acquiring another major loan and the psychological effect on the communities would be disastrous.

After a number of meetings it was decided by the KWSB to shelve the Balfours design. The Balfours representative was very concerned and pointed out that Her Majesty’s government had invested 1 million pounds in the preparation of these designs. However, these considerations were set aside and the app was asked to prepare designs for the trunks.

The OPP designs consisted of trunk sewers on either side of the nullals. This was because it was discovered that two trunks of a smaller diameter, without problems associated with traversing the nullahs were not only much cheaper but much easier to construct. The costs of this exercise worked out to Rs 120 million (US$ 4.8 million) which the government of Pakistan could afford, as opposed to about Rs 1300 million (US$ 52 million) for the original scheme for which the government would perhaps require yet another loan.

9. Lessons Learnt From The Opp Replication Projects

9.1 All Katchi Abadis Are Similar

The OPP has learnt a number of lessons through the replication process and through dealing with government institutions, community organisations and international agencies. A number of lessons that it had learnt through its work in Orangi, have been reinforced. The OPP has discovered that there is no major difference between the physical and social conditions in Orangi and in the other settlements it has worked in. The differences that do exist are related to the level of social organisation of the community and hence its capacity to work together. Given the right support and motivation, this capacity can be enhanced. The lessons reinforced through the replication process, and the new lessons that have been learnt are listed below.

9.2 There Are Four Levels of Sanitation

The OPP has discovered that as in Orangi, there are four levels of sanitation in other settlements as well. These are the sanitary latrine in the house, the primary drain in the lane, the secondary collector drain that links the primary drains, and the trunk sewers and treatment plants. In all the settlements the OPP has worked in, the communities were in a position to invest in and manage the construction of the first three levels.

9.3 External Development

In OPP terminology, external development consists of trunk sewers and treatment plants, or collector drains that are too long to be developed by local communities. Where natural disposal points, such as nullahs are available, or where trunk sewers laid by the development authorities and local bodies exist, communities can immediately undertake the development of their sewerage systems. The problem thus created for the nullahs can be tackled by laying trunks in their beds or along their sides, and subsequently integrating this development into the city’s sewerage master plan. If communities are asked to wait till such trunks are developed, they may have to wait “forever”.

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