The Sindh High Court (SHC) has given one month to the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) authorities to clear storm water drains of illegal encroachments in the metropolis after they gave assurances that the illegal leases issued in respect of such land have been cancelled.
A division bench, headed by Justice Irfan Saadat Khan, issued notices to the administrators of all six district municipal corporations in Karachi to submit reports containing the details of the funds provided to them to clear the drains in their respective areas.
A public interest litigant, Rana Faizul Hasan, had approached the court, seeking directions for the provincial and local authorities to clear the drains of encroachments.
Last month, the KMC land encroachment department senior director, Muhammad Bilal Manzar, informed the court that the corporation's chief engineer for natural drains had, in compliance with the court's directives, conducted a survey of all such drains across the city and prepared a list of those on which encroachments exist. The list was submitted to the court. These were the Zehri House Nullah, Mochko Nullah, Gujjar Nullah, Orangi Nullah, Picture Nullah and Kalri Nullah.
The director maintained that there were certain drains the KMC was not responsible for, as they fell within the jurisdiction of the Sindh Board of Revenue, Defence Housing Authority (DHA), Karachi Port Trust (KPT), SITE and various cantonment boards. He requested the court seek reports regarding the cleanliness and removal of encroachments from these federal and provincial departments, cantonment boards and housing authorities, so that they also take action against the encroachments falling within their jurisdictions.
The judges had directed different government and civic bodies — the Board of Revenue, SITE, DHA, KPT and the cantonment boards — to file their comments within 15 days. Meanwhile, notices were also issued to the district municipal corporations of East, Korangi and Malir districts to file their comments.
On Monday, the KMC law officer, Syed Sultan Ahmed, assured that a resolution had been passed by the KMC to cancel all the leases issued in respect to the land of storm water drains.
On this, the bench directed the KMC authorities concerned to remove encroachments from all the storm water drains within one month and submit a compliance report. Notices were issued to the commissioners of all the DMCs to file their comments regarding their budgetary allocations meant for cleaning the nullahs.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 29th, 2015.
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