KARACHI: Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Wednesday directed the local government department to work out a detailed plan for desilting, cleaning and repair of natural storm-water drains so that funds could be released in time.
“I want all deputy commissioners, local bodies and water boards to be taken on board while envisaging a rain emergency plan so that full and final action could be taken,” he added.
This he said while presiding over a rain emergency meeting here at the CM House. The meeting was attended by Local Government Minister Nasir Shah, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah, Karachi Commissioner Iftikhar Shallwani and other officials. The divisional commissioners and LG representatives, mayors/chairmen across the province joined the meeting through video link.
Promises funds for KMC
Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhtar told the chief minister that he was facing a financial shortfall to carry out desilting of drains.
At this, the chief minister advised the mayor to enhance KMC financial resources, but said that the Sindh government would cover the shortfall and finance the desilting work.
Asks KMC to enhance financial resources; says over 1,400 test positive for coronavirus in province
The chief minister directed the LG secretary to send him financial requirements through the finance secretary.
Mr Shah said that an $11 million World Bank project was in the pipeline and most probably it would start within the next four months under which almost all the major drains of Karachi would be lined.
“We would construct fencing around the nullahs so that no encroachment could take place,” he said and added almost all the newly constructed major roads of the city had storm-water drains along them, therefore he was sure that rainwater would be cleared out.
The meeting was told that some civil works of different drains in Karachi, Hyderabad and Sukkur were required.
The LG secretary told the CM that taking all the deputy commissioners on board he had sent a summary of Rs229m to the chief minister.
The CM directed the mayor and commissioner of Karachi to work out a plan to avoid last year’s Saadi Town-like situation.
He directed the mayor to expedite ongoing work on Mehran Nullah so that it may not overflow again and wreak havoc in Saadi Town.
Mr Shah also directed the Karachi commissioner to coordinate with K-Electric authorities for proper and uninterrupted power supply to the pumping stations of the KWSB.
The meeting decided that all the deputy commissioners would generate their requirement of suction machines, generators, pipes, etc, and send the same to Provincial Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) so that it could arrange the same.
It was also decided that hoardings, unnecessary cables and such other display boards would be removed before commencement of the monsoon.
Rs70m needed for desilting in Hyderabad
The Hyderabad commissioner told the chief minister that Rs70m was required for rain emergency of the city. Under the planned works, seven drains would be desilted, cleaned and repaired.
The CM said that although he would release the funds in the first week of July, the commissioner should start the work.
He said that work on all the seven drains must be started at once. He said that the Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco) had to be prepared to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the pumping machines of Wasa so that rainwater could be disposed of.
Situations of other divisions reviewed
The chief minister directed the commissioners of Shaheed Benazirabad, Mirpurkhas, Sukkur and Larkana to focus on cleaning of municipal and town committees’ nullahs and sewerage system.
The chief minister was told that low-lying areas had been identified where rainwater mostly accumulated. Desilting of natural drains had been started.
The CM directed the administration to speed up the work as the monsoon was approaching fast.
When the Sukkur commissioner pointed out the issue of cattle colonies being set up for sacrificial animals, the CM said that there would be no cattle colony anywhere in Sindh.
He directed the chief secretary to issue necessary instructions and direct the district administration to devise an alternative plan for the sacrificial animals’ market.
1,414 new Covid-19 cases in Sindh
In a separate development, the CM said on Wednesday that another 1,414 Covid-19 cases were detected by testing 7,400 samples, while 37 more patients died overnight lifting the death toll to 1,161, or 1.5pc.
According to a statement issued here from the CM House, the detection rate was 19.2pc. “So far 402,687 samples have been tested which diagnosed 74,070 cases all over Sindh,” he added.
He said that overnight 1,028 more patients recovered and the number of patients recovered so far has reached 39,429, which constituted 53.5pc recovery rate.
At present, he said, 33,480 patients are under treatment, of them 31,974 in home isolation, 49 at isolation centres and 1,457 at different hospitals.
He said that out of 1,414 new cases, Karachi had 644 new cases —185 in East, 184 in South, 97 in Korangi, 70 in Malir, 68 in Central and 40 cases in West.
The CM said that Hyderabad had 74 new cases, Mirpurkhas 33, Sukkur 30, Ghotki 27, Shaheed Benazirabad 25, Larkana 18, Thatta and Shikarpur nine each, Badin and Sanghar eight each, Khairpur seven, Naushahro Feroze, Dadu and Jamshoro six each, Umerkot four, Sujawal and Jacobabad three each, Tando Allahyar and Tando Mohammad Khan have one case each.
Published in Dawn, June 25th, 2020