100-day campaign: CM, LG minister jump on Wasim Akhtar’s cleanliness bandwagon

Akhtar applauded this show of support and vowed to work under the chief minister's supervision

Our Correspondent December 02, 2016

KARACHI: Residents of Karachi can rejoice as the chief minister, local government minister and mayor have decided to set aside their differences over local bodies' powers to clean the city.

Despite the meagre resources at his disposal, Mayor Wasim Akhtar has been on the streets for the last two days to execute his 100-day cleanliness plan. "I fully support the mayor's initiative. This city belongs to each and every one of us, therefore we should shun politics, support the mayor and make the city clean," said Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah.

Akhtar applauded this show of support and vowed to work under the chief minister's supervision to make Karachi 'a city of lights' again.

Reviewing the Rs10-billion Karachi package at a meeting on Friday, the CM directed the Karachi administration to remove garbage in the city. "District Municipal Corporations [DMCs] have enough funds, machinery and other resources to lift garbage and clean their respective areas. I am sorry to say they have not taken as much interest as they should have," he said, adding that the people of Karachi were looking to him and making appeals to him for cleanliness.

Sources said the CM asked the local government minister, Jam Khan Shoro, to provide logistical support and resources to the mayor during a meeting with the city's DMCs. The meeting was attended by Shoro, chief secretary Rizwan Memon, acting chief secretary of development M Waseem, principal secretary to the CM Naveed Kamran Baloch, finance secretary Hassan Naqvi, Karachi Package project director Niaz Soomro and his team members and other officers concerned.

According to the chief minister's spokesperson, Shah repeatedly directed the Karachi commissioner to mobilise his deputy commissioners and coordinate with the mayor. "This is our collective responsibility to clean the city until the mechanical sweeping system [is put in] place by the first week of January, 2017," he said. Shah said that there was an unnecessary hue and cry for powers. "You have enough powers, just start your work and serve the people of this city who have given you mandate. We are with you," he urged the elected representatives concerned and directed the divisional administration and relevant Sindh government departments to own the cleanliness drive the mayor has started. "Our collective objective is to give relief to the people. I have started focusing on the development of this city and you must all help him clean the city," said Shah.

Soon after this meeting, Shoro convened a separate meeting with all the DMC chairmen and deputy commissioners of Karachi. Sources said that the minister's office repeatedly phoned the mayor but he could not attend the meeting as he was participating in other events in the city. After the meeting, the LG minister told the media that his department was ready to fully cooperate with the mayor to clean the city.

"The mayor's 100-day campaign is actually part of the deputy commissioners' initiative, which has already started working to remove the garbage," said Shoro. The minister said that powers to local bodies' representatives will be given in light of the Sindh Local Government Act, 2013.

"During today's meeting, we reviewed the ongoing cleanliness drive and decided to ensure strong coordination with the mayor and other stakeholders to clean Karachi," he remarked.

He added that the provincial government has inked an agreement with Chinese companies to lift the garbage from districts South and East, following two separate resolutions adopted by the councils and the same thing can be replicated in other districts if their councils also show interest.

The mayor continued his drive in Central and East districts. "I cannot make a difference alone," he said. "We have already wasted time and energy doing nothing."

Published in The Express Tribune, December 3rd, 2016.


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