Judicial commission wants water, sanitation schemes working plan today

Chief secretary reported to be busy before an SHC bench, didn't attend hearing


Our Correspondent January 31, 2018
People filling their containers with water near Korangi due to the shortage of water. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: The judicial commission directed the provincial chief secretary to submit the working plan for the water supply and sewerage schemes in the province by today (Wednesday).

Justice (retd) Amir Hani Muslim, who is heading a Supreme Court-appointed commission to probe into failure of the provincial authorities concerned in non-supply of clean drinking water and deteriorating sanitation conditions in Sindh, issued the directive during Tuesday's proceedings.

Previously, the commission had directed the chief secretary to furnish a working plan in order to ensure completion of water supply and sanitation schemes across the province.

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On Tuesday, the matter for the working plan to be submitted by Chief Secretary Muhammad Rizwan Memon was fixed before the commission. However, the chief secretary was reported to be busy before a bench of the Sindh High Court and could not attend.

Planning and Development Board Chairperson Muhammad Waseem Khan was also reported to be busy in a meeting with the chief minister.

Justice Muslim fixed the matter for today (Wednesday) with a direction to the chief secretary and planning and development board secretary to be present.

He ordered that the directives issued to the provincial local government department secretary will be complied with and the chairperson of the task force will follow the same.

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Additional Health Secretary Rehan Iqbal Baloch informed the commission that the health secretary was out of town.

Justice Muslim told the officers that he had inspected the Services Hospital, Karachi, and Lyari General Hospital, Karachi. "All the hospitals are in pathetic condition," he said.

Baloch said he had visited Civil hospital three months back and the conditions had improved.

When, confronted with the issue of medical waste lying in the Civil hospital and Lyari General Hospital by showing the photographs taken by the commission during a recent visit, the secretary was speechless.

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Additional Advocate-General Muhammad Sarwar Khan requested for time to submit the working plan.

Justice Muslim remarked that since time had been sought for the submission of the working plan, therefore, no comment is made on the working of the health department in Sindh.

"The health department has failed to comply with the directives and orders issued by the apex court at times relatable to the installation of the incinerators and other requisite facilities at the larger interest of the public," the commission noted.

On a query, the commission was informed that the tenders were invited in December, 2017. "No plausible explanation has been offered by the additional health secretary in regard to the unhygienic conditions prevalent in the hospitals of Karachi visited by the commission," the commission observed.

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Therefore, it directed the chief secretary to submit the working plan in the first instance by today (Wednesday), after which appropriate orders will be passed regarding the working of different departments, which has a direct nexus with the objectives for which the commission had been constituted.

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