KARACHI: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Friday asked local government representatives, cantonment board and Defence Housing Authority as well as district administrations to drain out accumulated rainwater or sewage from their respective areas at the earliest.
“This may be considered as a top priority to remove rainwater or sewage from the streets and roads to provide relief to the people of this city,” he said while chairing a meeting held to ensure cleanliness in the provincial metropolis.
The meeting was attended by Local Government Minister Nasir Shah, Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar, DHA Administrator Brigadier Ibrar Hussain, all chairmen of Karachi’s six district municipal corporations (DMCs) and administrators of as many cantonment boards, chiefs of Karachi Water and Sewerage Board, Sindh Solid Waste Management Board (SSWMB), Karachi Development Authority, Katchi Abadis Minister Murtaza Baloch, CM’s Law Adviser Murtaza Wahab, Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani and others.
The chief minister told the participants of the meeting that he would personally visit the city in next 48 hours to see what was happening and what problems were being faced by the people.
He also asked them to improve the drainage system and repair work of the roads and areas where Muharram majalis would be held and processions taken out.
The chief minister promises Karachi mayor that he will resolve all issues being faced by KMC
“We all have to work together above the party and political affiliations. This is our city and people living here are our people. We have to serve them to the best of our abilities,” he said.
Mayor Akhtar pointed out that the drainage system in the city had no capacity to cater to the requirement of the population and because of it all gutters were overflowing.
The CM said that he would hold a separate meeting with the mayor, DMC chairmen, cantonment boards and KWSB to work out a detailed plan for upgrade and reconstruction of the city’s sewerage system.
“I know this city needs a new and modern drainage system for which I am working with the World Bank,” he said.
Fortnightly coordination meetings
The meeting noted that although everyone, including the chief minister, the mayor and administration, were on the roads during the heavy rains to mitigate the difficulties of the people, it was not a coordinated effort.
CM’s Adviser Wahab informed the meeting that the areas which mostly remained inundated after heavy rains fell within the jurisdiction of cantonment boards, but the people kept accusing the provincial government of not performing.
The CM directed the LG minister to hold a coordination meeting every fortnight in which all elected representatives, including the mayor, the DMCs’ chairmen, SSWMB, representatives of cantonment boards and others may be called to discuss the issues of their respective organisations so that the same could be solved in a coordinated way.
SSWMB comes under fire
In the meeting, most of the participants pointed out the declining performance of the SSWMB and said that it had no personal staff and had borrowed officers from other departments.
The chief minister said that they must hire professionals from market for better performance.
He directed the LG minister to improve the performance of SSWMB, otherwise he would give back the work to lift garbage and door-to-door collection of trash to DMCs.
The meeting was told that the DMCs had no designated garbage transfer stations (GTS). The CM directed DMCs’ chairmen and deputy commissioners to identify a piece of land in their respective districts so that a GTS each could be established to avoid dumping of garbage in the open.
The chief minister also directed Mayor Akhtar and DMCs to start a fumigation drive in the city.
Murad promises mayor to resolve all KMC issues
The mayor said that he had provided 48 vehicles to the DMCs for fumigation.
“I have no funds for procurement of medicine even then I have arranged it and provided to local bodies,” he said.
The chief minister said that he would hold a separate meeting with the Karachi mayor within a week to resolve all issues of the KMC.
The DMCs’ chairmen pointed out that salaries of their staff had been increased by 40 per cent during the last three years but the Sindh government had not increased their grants.
The chief minister said that the LG minister was working on the salary structure of all the local bodies employees so that their salaries could be protected.
The mayor complained that K-Electric had disconnected KMC’s power connection despite the fact that the power utility itself is a defaulter of KMC land utilisation bills.
The chief minister said that he would talk to KE authorities to pay land utilisation bill to the KMC as it and other LGs had a right to take such fee for installation of electric poles.
Published in Dawn, August 24th, 2019