KARACHI: Realising that stagnant water in various areas of Karachi was causing problems, Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah said that the entire government machinery, including the local bodies, was active on the roads working to clear rainwater.
Speaking to the media during his visit to the city, Shah said that all major nullahs in Karachi have been encroached at one place or the other. "The nullahs, which were wide enough to carry the water, their width has been reduced to hardly a few feet since people established their homes," he said, adding that despite the congestion on nullahs, the government has cleaned them.
The CM, who was accompanied by Local Government Minister Saeed Ghani, Excise Minister Mukesh Chawla, NED Vice-Chancellor Dr Sarosh Lodhi, Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani, Local Government Special Secretary Niaz Soomro and others, started his visit from Sharae Faisal and stopped at the turning towards Tariq Road where a wide trench had formed after an underground waterline collapsed. The chief minister directed Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) Managing Director (MD) Asadullah Khan to repair it immediately, otherwise, rainwater would seep into the nearby buildings and damage them.
Two begging kids
At Nursery, two small children, a brother and sister, were begging seated on wheelchairs. The CM stopped there and affectionately interviewed them. They were from Jacobabad and had been brought there by their father. During the interview, Shah learned that the children were not disabled but rather pretending that they were. He shifted them to the commissioner's office and directed the commissioner to summon their father and take an undertaking in writing from him that he would not engage his innocent children in begging. "If he [father of children] can't afford three square meals and schooling, I will do that but won't allow them to stretch their small hands before other people for a few coins," he said.
The CM also visited Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Nipa Chowrangi, Safoora Chorangi, Northern Bypass, an area of Saadi Town, Lyari Nadi at Sohrab Goth Bridge, Gujjar Nullah at Nazimabad and various other parts of the city.
Shah told media that Northern Bypass construction has stopped the smooth flow of rainwater, therefore water penetrated nearby areas, including Saadi Town.
He added that the site where Northern Bypass has been established was a natural waterway. When it was constructed, appropriate culverts would have been constructed to give way to water but it was not done, said the CM.
Shah directed NED University VC and local government special secretary to conduct a study of the underpass and explore ways to give way to water so that nearby localities and the bypass itself could be saved from flooding.
In response to a question, the CM said that the roads constructed under Karachi package I, II and III have service lanes, medians and drainage system, therefore rainwater has drained from there. He added that the roads constructed earlier were not given provision of drainage, therefore water accumulated and the district municipal corporations and deputy commissioners had to install de-watering pumps to clear them.
He expressed profound grief over the electrocution incidents. "I have directed the KE to take necessary measures to control the situation," he said, urging people to remain at arm's length from electric poles and other installations during the rainy season.
Shah lauded the hard work of all civic agencies, including Karachi mayor, in making efforts to ameliorate the problems of people in the city.
Talking about the power break down, Shah said that the KE could not ensure proper power supply in the city and that even pumping stations at Dhabeji and Pipri had tripped. Therefore, water supply has been affected in the city.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 31st, 2019.