Sindh govt mulling over construction of new drains for entire city

Updated August 14, 2019

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A TREE downed during Monday’s downpour is seen near Sindh Secretariat. — PPI
A TREE downed during Monday’s downpour is seen near Sindh Secretariat. — PPI

KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has said that Karachi received 200 millimetres of rain and his government is now exploring ways and means to construct new storm-water drains to cater to the requirement of the entire city.

He said this while talking to the media after offering Eid prayers at a mosque in Commissioner House on Monday.

Mr Shah said that Karachi had lost its natural storm-water drains.

A hydrographic survey of Karachi will be conducted before launching the scheme; CM to lead Kashmir solidarity rally today

“Being located in the lap of Khirthar range, Karachi not only receives rain but it also gets hill torrents, which in the past reached the sea through natural rivers and nullahs,” he said, adding: “Now those rivers and drains have turned into residential societies and colonies.”

He said that levelling criticism at the government was very easy but to find out the solutions and to work in the field was quite difficult.

“We can take a bulldozer to raze all the societies, apartments, residential towers and bungalows to restore old waterways but it would cause a major displacement and dislocation of hundreds of thousands of people and destroy their investments. Therefore, we are exploring other ways and means to construct new storm-water drains,” he said.

He said that a hydrographic survey of the city would be conducted and then a scheme would be launched.

Accompanied by Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Shah, his Law Adviser Murtaza Wahab, Special Assistant Rashid Rabbani and Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani and others, the chief minister said despite devastating rains his cabinet members and entire government machinery, including local government, water board and other civic agencies worked day and night and successfully drained out rainwater from major areas of the city.

“[But] I am sorry to say some detractors kept criticising the government and civic agencies just to take away the credit of our services,” he said. “The government doesn’t need the credit of some self-praising detractors and pseudo-intellectuals ... it was our duty and we did our best to control the situation and mitigate public sufferings.”

He said 200mm of rainfall was not a joke as it had inundated not only low-lying areas but also the rainwater reached the localities located on a higher altitude.

He said he had personally witnessed the situation in the low-lying areas and got them dewatered by standing in two-foot deep rainwater.

“I along with my cabinet members have been working in the rain-affected districts of Karachi and Hyderabad division for the last three days,” he added.

Mr Shah said that he had visited major parts of the city where rainwater had accumulated and he personally installed truck-mounted suction machines and got them cleared for the convenience of the people.

“I have tried my best to clear the areas where Eid congregations are held,” he said.

The chief minister said that he visited cities and towns of both the Karachi and Hyderabad divisions and met with people, witnessed their plight, carried out relief work and assured them that they would not be left alone.

During heavy rain on Saturday and Sunday, the chief minister visited various areas of the city, including Malir and Korangi, and then left for Thatta, Sujawal, Badin, Tando Mohammad Khan, Hyderabad, Kotri Barrage and Jamshoro.

He held meetings in deputy commissioner offices where elected representatives, senior officers of the local government department and others were also present.

Kashmir rally today

The CM would lead a rally on Wednesday (today) to mark Independence Day and to express solidarity with Kashmiris in India-held Kashmir.

This rally is being organised by the Pakistan Peoples Party’s Karachi chapter and is aimed at protesting against recent hostilities of India in Kashmir.

It would begin from the Quaid’s mausoleum and culminate at Empress Market.

Information Minister Saeed Ghani told a press conference that every political and religious party and people from all walks of life were invited to participate in the Kashmir solidarity rally to show to the world that despite our differences the entire nation was united on the issue of Kashmir.

He said as national unity was the need of the hour and the local leadership of all political and religious parties — Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan, Jamaat-i-Islami, Pak Sarzameen Party, Awami National Party, National Party, PkMAP, Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan, Sunni Tehreek, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam and others — had ensured their participation in the rally.

The chief minister said that the Indian government had unleashed terrorism in the held valley by killing innocent people, including children, women and elderly people.

“The international forces are watching the situation and I am sure the ‘champions of human rights’ would wake up from their slumber and support and liberate people of Kashmir from the clutches of India,” he said.

He said the country’s Independence Day would be celebrated with simplicity just to express solidarity with the oppressed people of Kashmir.

“We have announced that August 15 — the Independence Day of India — will be observed as a black day to express our strong rejection of their constitutional amendment under which Kashmir has been annexed [by] India,” he said.

Published in Dawn, August 14th, 2019