KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Saturday directed the authorities to clean sewers and storm-water drains across the city before the first spell of monsoon and submit a compliance report.

Headed by Justice Faisal Arab, a two-judge bench was hearing a petition on supply of potable water and provision of proper sanitation facilities across the province at the Karachi Registry of the apex court.

At the outset of the hearing, an additional advocate general of Sindh informed the judges that steps, including cleaning of sewers and storm-water drains, had been initiated on the directive of the apex court-mandated water commission.

“It’s shameful that work has just started”, Justice Arab said, adding that the authorities should have started work on their own.

The judges also remarked that the monsoon season was upon us and asked when the authorities would complete the work.

Justice Arab said that clean water was a basic necessity of life and the people should be provided with it.

Petitioner Advocate Shahab Usto informed the judges that there were 30 big and 500 small drains in the city and four big drains at Korangi, Chakra Goth, Mehmoodabad and Manzoor Colony were being cleaned.

Four of the 30 big and 500 small drains are being cleaned, court told

He submitted that the provincial government was allocating Rs500 million for cleaning drains across the city.

The bench directed the authorities to complete the task of cleaning of drains, and put off the hearing to May 5.

Bank merger case

Meanwhile, the two-judge bench of the apex court extended its restraining order on the merger of Sindh Bank and Summit Bank till further orders and put off the hearing to May 5.

Justice Arab remarked that the Chief Justice of Pakistan, who had taken suo motu action against the merger, would decide the case himself.

Governor of State Bank of Pakistan Jamil Ahmed appeared before the bench on a court notice and informed the judges that the SBP had no objection to the merger of the two banks. He submitted that the SBP was monitoring the proposed merger of the banks in accordance with the rules.

Justice Arab remarked that Summit Bank had incurred losses and asked if its merger would not have any adverse effects on Sindh Bank.

On court’s query, the director of Sindh Bank informed the judges that the employees of Summit Bank would be paid salaries by Sindh Bank for one year and after that they could seek a new contract or job.

He said that the merger would not have any negative effects on Sindh Bank as the bank branches and foreign exchange would increase in the wake of merger.

The representative of Summit Bank informed the judges that the proceedings of merger of the two banks were still at an initial stage.

The court directed the respondents to file a report regarding the proceeding of merger of the banks, and put off the matter to May 5.

The proposed merger of Sindh Bank with Summit Bank faced a setback after Supreme Court’s suo motu intervention over alleged irregularities.

A note from the Supreme Court registrar office — which forms the basis for suo motu notice — stated that Summit Bank was formed via the amalgamation of Atlas Bank, Arif Habib Bank and MyBank and according to regulations of the central bank, it was compulsory for all banks to have a paid-up capital of Rs10 billion.

The note also said: “Summit Bank has failed to comply with such requirement for years and, on the contrary, the capital has been raised fraudulently by misusing depositors’ money against shell companies and fake grower loans through sugar mills and power project in Nooriabad, Sindh.”

The registrar note also highlighted that Sindh Bank was a government-owned entity and its merger or takeover of a loss-incurring entity would cause a loss to the national exchequer.

Published in Dawn, April 15th, 2018

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