All garbage on the city roads should be picked up by August 2, ordered the commissioner on Saturday.
After a news report on the growing heaps of trash on the roads, Commissioner Shoaib Ahmed Siddiqui directed officials to launch a city-wide cleanliness drive. The workers of the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) will be covering all main thoroughfares and narrow lanes in this drive.
To implement his orders, local government director Rubina Asif presided over a meeting with the administrators of all district municipal corporations to ensure the drive starts on time. She was informed that the cleanliness work has already started and now they are trying to illuminate mosques and imambargahs where taraweeh prayers are being held.
The director stressed that there should be no garbage on the roads after August 2. She also pointed out that arrangements to clean roadsides, bridges and parks should be made so that the city could look clean and green.
During the meeting, it was decided that health inspectors will be authorised to fine those residents who are found throwing garbage outside their homes. The participants were informed that the department has been coordinating with the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board to cover manholes.
Meanwhile, the president of KMC workers union, Syed Zulfiqar Shah, feels this cleanliness drive is a mere publicity gimmick. “They have no money to initiate a cleanliness campaign across the city,” he told The Express Tribune. The workers of Saddar and Lyari have not been paid salary for the past four months, he pointed out. “How is it possible that they would start a cleanliness drive with no funds?”
According to Shah, the workers in other neighbourhoods have recently received their salaries for the month of May and June on court orders. “The reality is that the government has no money for fuel for the vehicles, most of which are out of order,” he claimed.
Shah felt that the Sindh government’s grant of Rs500 million was a temporary arrangement and the KMC administration should do something from their own resources to pay their employees’ salaries, he suggested.
“All political parties used KMC poles, signboards and other places to put up their banners and posters during the election campaign,” he said. “KMC should charge fee from all parties and earn revenue.” If these parties could pay the fees for using KMC’s space, its 73,000 employees would not be facing this worse financial crunch, he added.
Earlier, a KMC official blamed private contractors on the piling heaps of garbage. In order to save fuel, these private contractors dump all the garbage at one place, he said, on the condition of anonymity. The solid waste of the district municipal corporations is dumped at different places from where the little Afghan scavengers burn it, he pointed out. After a month when the garbage heap resembles a mountain, they dump it at landfill sites, he explained.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 28th, 2013.