KARACHI: The judicial commission ordered on Tuesday the Karachi mayor to enforce the ban on throwing of garbage into more than 500 drains in Karachi and remove encroachments from the same.
Justice (retd) Amir Hani Muslim passed this order while heading a Supreme Court-appointed judicial commission to investigate into the alleged failure of the provincial authorities in providing clean drinking water and sanitation conditions in Sindh.
During the proceedings, the commission told Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar that construction of roads was his responsibility and cleaning of the drains was the responsibility of the district municipal corporations (DMCs).
Justice (retd) Muslim told the mayor that authority and politics were two separate issues.
He further told the mayor that cleaning of some drains was the responsibility of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) and others were to be cleaned by the DMCs.
To a query, the mayor said that the KMC was responsible for cleanliness of more than 30 drains, while the DMCs were responsible for cleaning of 500 drains.
Justice (retd) Muslim asked the mayor to explain how these drains will be cleaned and what help he needed from the commission.
The mayor said 500 nullahs had been choked with garbage, adding that the KMC had cleared the Gujjar Nullah of garbage and encroachment.
Akhtar deplored that encroachments had started re-emerging along the drain because the road along its banks was not built.
The commission told the mayor to enforce the ban on throwing of garbage in the nullahs as the same was already prohibited under the relevant laws. It further directed him to remove encroachments from the drains.
The commission also ordered the Karachi mayor to ensure the staff of Chinese companies, which were awarded contracts to lift and dispose off garbage in city, were not harassed by the KMC officials.
It directed the Sindh government to ensure implementation of the laws banning the manufacturing and sale of polythene bags that do not dissolve after disposal.
Earlier, the commission said a ban on manufacturing, sale and purchase of substandard plastic bags should be banned by declaring Section 144 of the CrPC. However, an additional advocate- general said that there was no need to put a ban under Section 144, as the Sindh Environmental Protection Agency laws were already in the field. He pleaded to the commission to pass an order directing all those concerned to ensure implementation on the laws.
Power plant’s water logging
The commission, with the consent of the parties, ordered that a board meeting should be convened within this month in order to look into the issues related to waterlogging in the water sources from the thermal power plant in Jamshoro.
The commission ordered that the contractor will be paid the remaining outstanding bill by the company within 10 days and complete the project by June 30.
The commission directed the deputy commissioner and Jamshoro SSP to ensure that the project was not delayed on account of unlawful interruption by the locals affected by the waterlogging, as their monetary interest will be taken care by the relevant forum.
The additional director of the ministry of energy and power division, Dr Aamer Ahmed Ali, informed the commission that a report on compliance of these directives of the commission will be presented in the first week of April.
With the consent of the parties, the commission ordered that the central procurement committee will be re-notified during the course of the day to look into the purchase of medicines of the government hospitals in the province. It also ordered that Prof Dr Saeed Qureshi, the vice-chancellor of the Dow University of Medical Sciences, will be the committee’s chairperson.
The committee members will include Jinnah Sindh Medical University, Karachi VC Dr Tariq Rafi, Liaquat University of Medical and Health Sciences (LUMHS), Jamshoro Pro-VC Professor Dr Muneer Junejo, Professor Aneela Ataur Rehman of LUMHS community medicines, Chandka Medical University, Larkana VC Shafi M Qureshi, additional director of the directorate of pharmacy, additional secretary, PM&I of the health department and additional secretary to be nominated by the finance secretary not below the rank of BS-19.
According to the terms of reference, the committee will prepare bidding documents, carry out technical as well as financial evaluation of the bids and prepare evaluation reports as provided in the Rule 45.
The committee will also make recommendations for the award of contract to the competent authority, perform any other function ancillary and incidental to the above and monitoring of the procured medicines with regard to their quality and genuineness.
The commission ordered that the committee will be authorised to have vigilance over distribution of the supply to different hospitals, including all health facilities and to generate compliance report on the website for the public at large.
The commission ordered that the National Accountability Bureau’s chairperson may appoint any of his additional director’s as a member of the procurement committee in order to ensure transparency in the procurement process of medicines.
The health secretary informed that the issue of the technical committee may be taken up on March 22.
Private consultants’ hiring
Planning and Development Board Chairperson Waseem Ahmed said that there was no provision under the Rules of Business authorising any of the government departments to appoint a consultant for repair and maintenance works in government hospitals.
The commission wrote, in its order, that the consultant appointed by the health department or any other department in the Sindh government do not have the sanction of law. It noted that the minutes of the meeting held in 2007 or around relied upon cannot overrule the specific provisions of the Rules, therefore, the consultant appointed by the health department needed to be de-notified on Tuesday and the work assigned to them shall be taken over by the works and services department on the same day after proper inventory.
The commission directed the Works and Services Secretary Aijaz Memon to take over all the ongoing contracts given by the consultants besides the functions or works assigned to the consultants of the health department and it would be proceeded with as if assigned to the works department.
The commission ordered that the liabilities, if any, of the consultant or contractor will be examined and settled by the works and services secretary through the chief engineer, which includes the quality of work.
The commission adjourned the hearing till March 22.
Later, Justice (retd) Amir Hani Muslim, along with the Karachi mayor and other officers, went on a visit to inspect the drains which had been choked with garbage and because of lack of cleanliness.