In ‘orphaned’ Sukkur, it’s either sink or swim

The people of the Sukkur and New Sukkur talukas have been putting up with accumulated garbage and sewage water.


Perwaiz Khan/shaukat Rahi May 28, 2010

The people of the Sukkur and New Sukkur talukas have been putting up with accumulated garbage and sewage water because the town municipal administrators who were suspended have not been replaced.

On April 18, local bodies minister Agha Siraj Durrani sent a letter to the local bodies secretary, ordering the suspension of taluka Sukkur city administrator Nawab Ali Sheikh and taluka new Sukkur administrator Tufail Soomro allegedly for being involved in corruption cases. However, according to officials, the two administrators were suspended because of public complaints - people were ‘drowning’ in sewage water, had no clean water and received electricity for only half a day. The swift suspension did not bring about even the slightest bit of improvement. About 10 days have passed, yet no one has been appointed to replace them and no names have been proposed.

Meanwhile, the suspended administrators have been working to have themselves reappointed. Tufail Soomro, the suspended New Sukkur administrator, is seeking the help of an MPA and the local president of the ruling party to get his job back.

In the meantime, a third official, former New Sukkur administrator Muhammad Ahmed Barakzai has filed a petition in the Sindh High Court, accusing the local bodies secretary and other authorities of contempt of court. He was the administrator before Tufail Soomro. Barakzai was not allowed to continue as a administrator even though the court had issued a stay order and directed Barakzai to continue working until a final verdict is issued.

All of this political wrangling has left the residents of Sukkur stuck between a rock and a hard place. “Yes, the administrators were not doing such a good job but if we protested, they would make some phone calls and at least make some temporary arrangements for water or order a cleanup,” said Muhammad Hanif Memon, a shopkeeper at the soaked Kiryana Bazaar. “But now there is no one to listen to our complaints.”

Moreover, there seems to be a vacuum in government offices as there are no Grade 17 officers in the two talukas. There is no town officer of Finance, no TO Regulations, and no DDOs in new Sukkur and Sukkur city. There is also no waterworks engineer, which explains the sewage overflow. And the TMO city employees, about 1,100 of them, including janitorial staff, have not been paid their salaries. Because there is no TO Finance.

According to officials, the cause for all the chaos is a political tussle between the Muttahida Qaumi Movement and the Pakistan Peoples Party. “If the TMA belongs to one party, the DCO Finance belongs to the other. Both men create difficulties to make each other look bad and no work gets done,” revealed the official.

The only ones lending an ear are NGOs and other non-profit organisations that are demanding the appointment of administrators in both the talukas as soon as possible.

Published in the Express Tribune, May 29th, 2010.

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