KARACHI: Local Government Minister Nasir Hussain Shah said on Wednesday that a concerted campaign to get rid of the piles of garbage in the sprawling city had started with full support from the city mayor and all municipal bodies.
“We are lifting at least 12,000 tonnes of garbage from Karachi every day; and for that Mayor Wasim Akhtar and representatives of all municipal bodies are on the same page to clean this city of lights,” said the minister at a press conference after presiding over a meeting.
Information Minister Saeed Ghani, Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani, LG secretary Roshan Ali Shaikh, deputy commissioners of the city’s six districts, chairmen of the district municipal corporations and representatives of cantonment boards and other municipal bodies attended the meeting.
“All bodies having stake in the city’s municipal landscape will have to chip in and make this campaign a success,” said Minister Shah.
“Whoever creates obstacles in the way of the cleanliness campaign will create problems for the people of Karachi.”
He added that steps were being taken to increase the lifting of garbage; besides, plans were afoot to repair the streets damaged by the recent rains.
He said holding a meeting with representatives of all municipal organisations was aimed at making it a joint effort.
“All municipal representatives and the related bodies would be accorded complete support by the provincial government.”
He said chairmen of the six DMCs were highly critical in making the drive a success as they were the bodies primarily responsible for sanitation. Besides, he added, chairmen of union committees would also be made part of the drive.
He said the cleanliness effort would not end in a month; however, the one-month deadline was fixed to significantly decrease the backlog of garbage scattered all around.
Mr Shah said faulty drainage lines were being rectified, while streetlights were also being made efficient.
He added that the Sindh Solid Waste Management Board’s performance should be made efficient for which the government had approached the relevant authorities.
He made it clear that the DMC chairmen were fully empowered as per their mandate to oversee the lifting of garbage in their limits; while Rs50 million had been put at the disposal of the deputy commissioners to utilise for the purpose.
Answering a query about the absence of the city’s mayor in the meeting, Mr Shah said Mayor Akhtar was abroad, but his representatives attended the meeting.
“The mayor of Karachi has assured of his full support to this campaign. This issue should not be made controversial as everyone is contributing with good intentions.”
Mr Shah said the government had decided to impose Section 144 to discourage those who, intentionally or unintentionally, caused littering of garbage in the city.
In response to another query, he said the performance of Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah was best in the lot; and, because of his capability to deliver, “he is not in the good books of many of his adversaries”.
“Murad Ali Shah will remain our chief minister until 2023,” he remarked.
Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2019