LAHORE After the dengue fever, the Citys dwellers are experiencing another epidemic: acute shortage of potable water. One thing is, however, common in the unstoppable deaths caused by the virus and the peoples thirsty lips: unscheduled power outages. Where the dengue has devoured and destroyed about 150 families in the ancient City, the water scarcity has created a drought-like situation, causing nuisance on a massive scale. The situation has been topped by unavailability of fuel at number of now-inoperative generators installed at Water and Sanitation Agency tubewells across the metropolis. On Sunday, this scribe witnessed people of all ages in different areas carrying empty pots and wandering about in search of water. However, most of them had to return to their homes without fetching a drop of water. The water was not available even at the Wasa filtration plants installed at nearly 150 tubewells in the City. The suffering citizens abused the government and authorities concerned by holding them responsible for the historys worst water crises in the country, particularly the power crisis, which has not only destroyed the big industries of the country but also small businesses, causing unemployment but also created a drought-like situation for the past many days. Meanwhile, sources in the Wasa have revealed that a large number of the affected residents of the worst-hit localities of Johar Town, Wapda Town, Township, Green Town, Thokar Niaz Baig, Mlutan Road, Bund Road and the Walled City, reached Wasa offices located near to them and complained about unavailability of potable water in their areas. Some of them, according to the sources, complained that their localities were not being supplied water through the Wasa tubewells even when during the hours when electricity was available. They further complained to the authorities that the tubewell operators of some areas had refused to use the generators during the power outages, putting the blame to the unavailability of fuel for these generators. The operators blamed that the Wasa authorities were not providing fuel despite abundance of funds. Talking to this newspaper on Sunday, some tubewell operators, on the condition of anonymity, said many of these tubewells were in the state of inoperativeness from day one. How can we put into work these generators when there is no fuel? Even then people ask us to run them. Some even hurl threats, they remarked. We have no idea about the availability and allocation of funds for these generators. The officers concerned usually say the department does not have ample funds, they maintained. Wasa MD Javed Iqbal, however, said the department had appointed some directors to ensure provision of fuel for the generators. He said the main objective to have these directors was to check theft of fuel by tubewell operators and other staff. Earlier, a number of theft incidents were reported, which compelled [the authorities] to evolve a mechanism regarding provision of fuel for tubewell generators. The Wasa spokesman, however, says that the fuel theft from the generators was not possible. These [generators] are equipped with computerised meters, which record the working hours as well as the oil consumption. Readings are being recorded in the log books of the department. He said most of the tubewell operators were work-charge employees recruited on political basis for a three-month contract only. So, they are unable to understand such a technical system of the department and their blame regarding supply of fuel for the generators and non-availability of funds is baseless.