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Kuwait ministry under fire over Mishref crisis

Local MPs question wisdom of contract bidding procedure

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Kuwait's Ministry of Public Works is facing some tough questions from the country's parliament.
Kuwait's Ministry of Public Works is facing some tough questions from the country's parliament.

More questions are being asked in the Kuwaiti parliament about the breakdown at the Mishref sewage treatment plant last week, which resulted in hundreds of tonnes of barely treated wastewater being released into the city off the country’s capital.

A Kuwaiti MP, Saleh Ashour, said that he had learnt that there had been a number of casualties in the incident, although the Ministry of Public Works has so far not released any details, said the Kuwait Times newspaper.

There still seems to be some confusion about the cause of the Mishref breakdown, with the technical committee charged with looking into the incident intimating that a number of shops in the Hawalli district had contaminated the station with industrial litter.

However, the country’s MPs are focusing on aspects of the award of the Mishref contract, in particular whether ministry engineers noticed whether there was a fault with the installation of the pumps, the number of companies that bid for the project, and whether the contract winner had the lowest bid.

According to the paper, another MP questioned whether the station had broken down just five days after its handover by contractors.

Kuwait’s Authority of Agriculture Affairs and Fish Resources has forbidden fishing within a three-mile distance of the coasts, according to state news agency KUNA, although the move has not been specifically linked to the wastewater crisis.

Meanwhile, the Kuwaiti cabinet has approved a project to build a new power plant in the Zour area.

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