KARACHI, June 25: As dark clouds start assembling in the skies over Karachi, it’s the moment of truth for various public services, including the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board (KWSB) and Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC). Amid reports of expected downpour due to wind pressure coming from India and monsoon beginning sometime during the week in Pakistan with rains throughout Sindh to prevail for three to four days, at least, there is plenty of preparation required ahead of the calamity.
The Pakistan Meteorological Department has warned of the pre-monsoon system to hit the coastal belt of Pakistan from Balochistan to Karachi and then Thatta and Badin.
Doing their bit in view of the forecast, KWSB Managing Director Misbahuddin Fareed has put all their chief engineers on high alert while also cancelling the leave of all their operational staff in order to cope with any rain-related emergency situation.
“Nadi and nullahs often get blocked during the rains and people remove manhole covers to drain the rainwater,” said the KWSB chief while speaking to Dawn on Monday. “But manholes are not meant for draining rainwater. The grime, dirt and stones also go in along with the water causing the gutters to choke,” he said.
“Then the open manholes also carry the threat of people falling into it. So we have asked our staff to remain vigilant during such instances.
They should make sure that all manholes are covered and be there to keep the generators operational in case of power failures so that thousands of cusec tonnes of sewage is treated and pumped into the sea,” he explained.
In order to remain available round the clock, KWSB operational staff have been directed to work in three shifts.
Presiding over a meeting at his office on Monday, Mr Fareed asked the chief engineers to maintain close coordination with the deputy commissioners of their respective districts and set up an emergency centre. He also called for the revival of all complaint centres by deploying special staff there.
Meanwhile, as a gaze upwards brings to mind the recent memories of blocked gutters, traffic jams and broken down vehicles on both sides of the flooded roads, senior director of municipal services Dr Shaukat Zaman told Dawn that his team was also on standby to bring relief to the people during the rains.
“We have already been involved in plenty of pre-monsoon nullah cleaning. And with the rains upon our heads now, we have declared an emergency. All our emergency centres will be ready and fully equipped to deal with rain-related problems such as fallen trees and broken power cables,” he said.
“Dewatering pumps, too, have been installed at the points where water is known to accumulate due to poor drainage. Big pumps have been installed at four of the most troubled locations during the rains, namely Shaheen Complex on Dr Ziauddin Ahmed Road, Falaknaz Apartments, Jinnah Terminal and the Edhi Centre at Kharadar,” he explained.
“Smaller pumps have also been placed at FTC, Gharibabad Underpass, KDA roundabout at Shahrah-i-Pakistan, etc,” he added.
KMC administrator Mohammad Hussain Syed had also been overseeing the cleaning work of drains, it was said.