KARACHI: The cleaning of rainwater drains in the city before the monsoon season has hit snags as the district municipal corporations (DMC) have claimed that the funds provided to them for the purpose are insufficient.
The Sindh government approved Rs1.23 billion for the cleaning of drains and issued Rs500 million to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC). After a judicial decree, funds were also issued to the DMCs to carry out the cleaning work. However, the DMC chairpersons rejected the amount of Rs5 million given to each district, claiming it was insufficient for the work.
There are over 500 rainwater drains in the metropolis, of which 36 major ones fall under the jurisdiction of the KMC, whereas, the DMCs are responsible for the rest of drains.
Commenting on the situation, DMC East Chairperson Moeed Anwar said labour force and machinery were required for cleaning the nullahs. He added that besides cleaning, the drains also needed to be repaired. The DMC East chairperson claimed that the amount Rs5 million provided by the chief secretary to the DMC was too meagre to have the nullahs cleaned.
Anwar called for carrying out a survey to estimate the amounts required by each DMC for cleaning nullahs within their jurisdictions, adding that billions of rupees were required to perform the cleaning of drains which were filled with litter.
KMC geared up
Meanwhile, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar has claimed that on the instructions of the Supreme Court and the Judicial Commission on Water and Sanitation, the KMC has finalised its arrangements for the cleaning of 36 major storm water drains in the city.
The mayor shared these details while presiding over a special meeting which was attended by Metropolitan Commissioner Dr Saifur Rehman, Coordination Senior Director Masood Alam and others. The mayor lamented that many storm water drains in the city had turned into sewage drains.
Work on four large drains was commenced before Eid in view of the predictions of rain from July 15 onwards, the mayor said. The four drains include Orangi Town Nullah, Gujjar Nullah, Manzoor Colony Nullah and Khayyam Canal.
The mayor claimed that the cleaning work was resumed on Tuesday after it remained suspended during the Eid holidays. The Supreme Court has given a deadline of 30 days for the cleaning of drains and the KMC wants to ensure significant improvement in the drainage system before it ends. The Judicial Commission on Water and Sanitation had also warned of urban flooding if the nullahs were not cleared before the monsoon.
According to Akhtar, due to the lack of a proper mechanism for solid waste disposal in Karachi, 60% of garbage produced in the city was being dumped into the nullahs, causing them to choke.
The KMC is trying to make sure that the drains are in a working condition before the monsoon starts, Akhtar said, adding that the provincial government had issued necessary funds to the civic body on the instructions of the apex court.
A letter has been sent to the Sindh government for the release of an additional Rs720 million, Akhtar said. He asserted that cleaning of minor drains was as necessary as the cleaning of major drains as rainwater reached the major drains through minor ones.
Taking notice of the lack of funds available with the DMCs to clean the drains, the Judicial Commission on Water and Sanitation had recently directed the provincial government to provide funds to all the DMCs.
In the meantime, the mayor has also appealed to the residents of Karachi to cooperate with the administration in the cleaning the canals. He has requested house owners to terminate their sewege connections in case they are linked with the drains. He has also asked citizens to throw garbage into designated spots.
According to Pakistan Meteorological Department (PMD) Director Abdul Rasheed, monsoon rains will hit the city between July 15 and September 15. The pre-monsoon season, however, will begin in the city in early July.
The PMD officer also predicted that Karachi will receive less rains in the monsoon season than other parts of the country.