Neglecting duties: Lawyers take govt, MPAs, to court over disaster in Sanghar

The district has been the worst hit but nothing is being done, says petition.


Express September 22, 2011

HYDERABAD: Eight lawyers from Sanghar, actually Sindh’s worst hit district by the rains, have gone to court against the government and elected representatives, who they say completely failed to do their duty before and during the disaster.

The devastation has been complete. The drainage system, saline water drains, distributaries and watercourses overflowed and inundated towns and villages. Roads are flooded, cutting the district off.

Crops were washed away and people fled from their villages to seek shelter in safer spots such as Achro in Thar. Many of them are still trapped in areas that are waist-high in water. In their constitutional petition, the lawyers said that nothing was being done to rescue them and their lives are at risk.

Sanghar’s MNAs and MPAs did not serve the people, said the petition. Instead, they protected their assets and deliberately breached the banks of canals, nullahs, distributaries and watercourses. They misused their powers by taking money meant for relief work, the petitioners said.

The lawyers said that the EDO for health didn’t do anything to help families. Most of the district hospitals are closed and others don’t have medicines. Not even tablets for malaria are available.

The sessions and civil courts are closed. There has been no work for 15 days. The offices of the DCO,  EDO and other officials are flooded but nothing is being done.

The lawyers requested the court to direct the people named in the petition to ensure that rescue and relief work starts and for sessions judge to monitor it to ensure that the help goes to the right people. Reports should be made public on how the relief goods were distributed.

On Thursday, the Sindh High Court circuit bench issued notices to the Sindh secretaries of local government, revenue, health and irrigation, the Sindh relief commissioner, the chairman of the National Disaster Management Authority, the director of the provincial disaster management authority, the director-general of health for Sindh, the parliamentarians of Sanghar and Umarkot, the DCO and EDO Revenue as well as the advocate general of Sindh for September 27.

Published in The Express Tribune, September 23rd,  2011.

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