KARACHI: The judicial commission ordered on Thursday decentralisation of a project to construct 63 government hospitals and trauma centres in all district of the province.
Justice (retired) Amir Hani Muslim, head of the Supreme Court-appointed commission investigating non-supply of clean drinking water and sanitation in the province, passed this order on a report submitted by the provincial planning and development department’s chairperson.
In his report, the chairperson pinpointed that there were seven Annual Development Programme schemes that were under the umbrella of the project.
The project comprised 63 units, of which 17 were district headquarter hospitals, five taluka headquarter hospitals and 41 trauma centres. According to the report based on the department’s monitoring and evaluation wing, of the 17 district headquarter hospitals, the construction of six was satisfactory and two were average while nine were unsatisfactory. There were five taluka headquarter hospitals whose construction work was also unsatisfactory.
The report revealed that the construction of all 41 trauma centres was unsatisfactory. Keeping this in mind, the commission, with the consent of the department chairperson and health secretary, ordered that the project be decentralised and be taken up at district level. The entire rehabilitation project will be decentralised, according to this decision.
The commission ordered that the construction of the units found to be unsatisfactory will be remedied and completed either through the same contractors or at the cost of the contractors through another contractor.
The commission ordered that the MBs shall be recorded at the time of taking inventory. The revenue component will devolve with the committee, which was constituted with the consent of the chief secretary and health secretary. From today onwards, this project stands decentralised and will be completed district-wise through the works and services department.
The planning and development chairperson suggested that the units should be completed by the next financial year without compromising on the quality and the requisite amount in this regard should be allocated and released by the relevant forum.
The commission ordered that all the utility services in this regard will be ensured by the works and services department by adopting the proper mechanism so that on completion of the buildings, these utilities will be available within the premises.
Regarding the issue of subsoil water, the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board’s (KWSB) managing director informed the commission that a note had been forwarded to the board’s chairperson for a decision.
The commission directed the MD to obtain a decision from the chairperson by tomorrow (Friday) and said once such order is obtained appropriate directions would be passed. Deferring the matter till Monday, April 9, the commission ordered that the local government secretary shall take steps to ensure the orders are obtained from the KWSB chairperson.
The commission also deferred till tomorrow (Saturday) a hearing on the matter relating to obstructions and encroachments on the land of storm-water drains, which fall within the domain of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and the district municipal corporations (DMCs), as the taskforce’s chairperson was not present on account of his official commitments.
The local government secretary requested one week to sort out the issues between the privately-hired contractors and Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB). He was granted time till April 16.
The project engineer, Ghulam Mustafa, said his parent department was the public health department and after the disbandment of the special initiative department, he and others had not resumed work at the public health engineering department.
The commission directed the latter department’s secretary to ensure that all those who were in the special initiative department and were from the public health department shall be allowed to report to the latter so that their services could be utilised.
The KWSB MD said that after his meeting with the LG secretary and irrigation secretary who is also chairperson of the taskforce, it was concluded that consultants needed to be appointed for the rehabilitation of water filtration plants.
Therefore, the commission directed that appropriate orders should be obtained for the rehabilitation of the plants, which should start immediately after complying with the codal formalities.
With the consent of all the chief officers of all the cantonment boards in Karachi and officials of the SSWMB, it was agreed that the deputy commissioners of the respective districts within Karachi shall act as coordinators to ensure that municipal solid waste is lifted within their respective jurisdictions and disposed of at the designated landfill site.
The commission directed the deputy commissioners to also interact with the police to resolve security issues if any of the contractors engaged by the board for garbage collection, lifting and disposal.
DMC Central Chairman Rehan Hashmi said they were also planning to contract out their cleaning programme through the SSWMB and the district council was likely to take steps to pass a resolution, though it had reservations on some of the conditions.
When the commission confronted him with provision of the SSWMB, which makes the chairpersons of the DMCs as ex-officio members, Hashmi said that he previously overlooked the issue, adding that the SSWMB had never called a board meeting.
He said he was inclined to pass a resolution through the council consenting that municipal functions be assigned to the SSWMB to work within their DMCs.
The bench expected that the chairperson would get a resolution of this nature passed through the council in the coming week. It directed that Hashmi’s reservations be looked into by the board after the resolution was passed.
According to the LG secretary, there was no other DMC in Karachi objecting to the working of the SSWMB. Therefore, on the SSWMB MD’s return from abroad, he will call a meeting of the ex-officio members and strengthen the board by inducting employees through competitive process at all levels and the government shall facilitate him. He assured that the issue will be addressed immediately, so that the working of the board could be improved.
The chairperson of the planning and development department said the chief minister was chairperson of the SSWMB, but he had delegated his powers to the chief secretary, who did hold meetings.
The commission directed the chief secretary to hold a meeting of the board, inviting all the DMCs, mayor and other stakeholders in terms of Section 4 of the statute. The matter was adjourned till April 16.
Combined effluent treatment plants
The commission noted that combined effluent treatment plants (CETP) had been proposed to ensure that industrial waste is treated before being drained into the sea. It observed that industrial water has damaged the sea and marine life.
Justice (retd) Muslim mentioned that the SC had intervened and it was decided that CETPs should be installed to cater to the industrial waste from all over Karachi. This plan is still on paper though there was an arrangement that 50% of the amount would be funded by the federal government and remaining 50% by the Sindh government.
He noted that now the executive committee of the national economic council has approved that one-third shall be paid by the federal government and the remainder by the Sindh government.
The commission remarked that the project director has put in an appearance and his working would be examined on today when the chief secretary attends a meeting with the commission.
The commission deferred the issue relating to the installation of pre-treatment plants within industries in Karachi as Advocate Abdul Sattar Pirzada sought time to interact with his clients and come back with the consolidated proposal on it. He was granted 10 days.
The commission took up a complaint received from one of the owners of the water tankers, in which he stated that the contractors of the tankers had increased the rate as the hydrant service was not regulated in conformity with the rules.
Justice (retd) Muslim issued a notice to the KWSB MD, incharge of the hydrant cell and Malir SSP to be in attendance. The commission ordered that the entire material on the basis of which contract of the hydrants had been awarded in Malir should also be presented before the commission on April 17.
The commission directed that the LG secretary will sit with the concerned authorities and examine the issues and also directed the Sindh Building Control Authority’s director-general to attend the meeting.
The commission noticed that during construction, the builders had encroached upon the footpaths and roads with construction material, adding that this is a violation of the rules.
It also noticed that once the construction and/or excavation of the footpath and a road was undertaken by any agency, the construction and excavation material remained on the footpaths and roads and the agency which executed the work does not repair or remove the material from there, which further aggravates the agony of the public.
The commission directed the city’s municipal commissioner, chief municipal officers of the DMCs, the SBCA DG and chief officers of all the cantonments to ensure that construction material should not encroach upon the footpaths or roads. It further directed that if any agency executed work on footpaths and roads, it should remove the material on completion of the work after proper repairing the damage that had been caused to the roads or footpaths. The hearing was adjourned till April 17.