Removing garbage: CM’s three-day deadline met with scepticism

Qaim Ali Shah warns of strict action against officials if garbage continues to line streets

Our Correspondents July 18, 2016
Workers cleaning a nullah in Lee Market. PHOTO: ONLINE

KARACHI: If the chief minister had made the effort of visiting different parts of the city, he too would meet his unrealistic demand of removing all of the city's garbage within three days with scepticism.

During a meeting on water and garbage lifting at CM House on Monday, Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah expressed anger at the commissioner, Aijaz Ali Khan and Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC)administrator Laeeq Ahmed for failing to keep the city clean. He gave them three days to lift garbage accumulated on the roads and streets otherwise face the music, which he described as "relieving the relevant officer and taking action against him".

Shah pointed out that he had given the funds to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), the district municipal corporations (DMCs) and the deputy commissioners to clean up the city and provide water to people through tankers. "Sorry to say, nothing has been achieved so far," he said.

"The commissioner and KMC administration must clean up the city by lifting garbage from each and every DMC of the city by involving your entire machinery and human resources," he said. The KMC and the DMCs have a large number of sweepers and sanitation workers and have the necessary equipment to sweep the city and lift garbage from collection points and take them to landfill sites, he pointed out.

"We have no need of such sanitation workers and sweepers who do not work despite drawing salaries," he added, laying the blame on low-level employees instead of their supervisors or the local government ministry. The chief minister insisted the Sindh government provides additional funds to these departments.

It is, however, interesting to note that garbage collection became the chief minister's concern after a Sindh Assembly legislation formed the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board which is headed by the provincial chief.

Ignorance is bliss

For his part, commissioner Khan feigned ignorance over the chief minister's three-day deadline and blamed it all on the hype created by electronic media.

"As per my information, the chief minister only directed the clean-up of District South," Khan told The Express Tribune. He added that he had yet to receive instructions about other districts but, on his own, he has directed all deputy commissioners to take care of the garbage piles in their areas.

On the mismanagement of solid waste and its disposal, Khan blamed the city's huge size. "Karachi is geographically a very large city and is not very easy to handle," he said, adding that they are trying their best with limited resources to dispose of the tons of waste the city generates every day.

Even though the chief minister's reprimand included the KMC administrator, Ahmed told The Express Tribune that garbage disposal is no longer their department's responsibility. The DMCs are responsible for collecting garbage, he said.

Free water tankers

Shah also took the opportunity to criticise the poor distribution of water tankers, which his government had promised to provide for free in areas facing shortage. "A majority of the people in this city are poor and cannot afford to buy water," he said, asking the commissioner to provide a detailed report.

Also in attendance was local government minister Jam Khan Shoro, principal secretary Alamuddin Bullo, additional development secretary Mohammad Waseem, local government secretary Baqaullah Unar, water board chief Misbahuddin Farid and others.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 19th, 2016.


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