Given the size and population of Karachi, Sharjeel Memon admitted that there is a paucity of fire tenders, snorkels and other equipment in the city.
In a statement issued on Saturday, the information and local government minister said the number of fires have gone up in the last two weeks due to the change in weather. He added that the Pakistan Peoples Party-led Sindh government has fulfilled its first promise by paying compensation of Rs100,000 to each of the 90 families affected by the Timber Market fire.
Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah immediately released Rs3.25 billion after the Baldia factory fire for the purchase of fire tenders and snorkels but the court issued a stay order against the purchase, said Memon. The stay order has yet to be vacated even though it has been eight months, he added. Memon said that they have requested multiple times that it was in the interest of the residents to buy fire tenders but were not paid attention and were paid contempt of court notices, instead.
Memon pointed out that the Timber Market Association and District South deputy commissioner Saleem Rajput are conducting a survey to estimate the financial losses incurred in the fire. The chief minister has instructed Rajput to compensate the fire victims as soon as possible, he added. Once the report comes out, the construction work on their houses will start as well, said Memon.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 4th, 2015.