Army, NDMA to help Sindh govt in cleaning drains, encroachment removal

Updated 01 Aug 2020

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It was also decided that the provincial government with the support of the army and NDMA would remove encroachments from all the storm-water drains in the city. — Amir Guriro/File
It was also decided that the provincial government with the support of the army and NDMA would remove encroachments from all the storm-water drains in the city. — Amir Guriro/File

KARACHI: The Sindh government, Pakistan Army’s V Corps and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on Friday jointly decided to assign the work of removal of sludge of three storm-water drains to the Frontier Works Organisation (FWO).

It was also decided that the provincial government with the support of the army and NDMA would remove encroachments from all the storm-water drains in the city.

This decision was taken at a high-level meeting, chaired by Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah and attended by Corps Commander Lt Gen Humayun Aziz, NDMA chairman Lt Gen Mohammad Afzal, Local Government Minister Syed Nasir Shah, Law Adviser Murtaza Wahab, Chief Secretary Mumtaz Shah and others.

The meeting decided to hand over cleaning of three drains to the FWO. The drains also include Gujjar Nullah in district Central. It would be cleaned to its entire length.

The FWO would clean Sharea Faisal storm-water drains, both sides, along with adjacent choking points (such as FTC, Nursery, Gulshan-i-Zafar, Tipu Sultan Road, Karsaz, Drigh Road, Stargate). Sludge will be taken out and dumped directly at landfill sites of Jam Chakro and TP-1.

Desilting of three major storm-water drains given to FWO; corps commander assures Murad of support

The local government department with the support of the army and Rangers would remove encroachments from the embankments of the drains so that rainwater could be disposed of through natural gravity.

City infrastructure can’t sustain heavy rains

The chief minister said the existing infrastructure of the city had the capacity to sustain 25mm to 30mm of rain.

He said that the areas where rainwater accumulated or flooded the localities were Gujjar Nullah in Liaquatabad, Sher Shah Suri Road where pillars of Green Line infrastructure had been constructed within the drain, Kashmir Colony at the tail end of Orangi Nullah, Gulistan-i-Jauhar where encroachment had emerged and desilting could not be done, Gulshan-i-Zafar adjacent to PECHS where encroachment issues were the main causes, Zaman Town in Korangi which also had encroachment issues and Soldier Bazaar Nullah at Police Lines which was deliberately choked by putting heavy stones in the drain.

The meeting was told that on July 17 it rained more than 63mm within an hour at the PAF Faisal Base. PECHS and Sharea Faisal were choked for a few hours at Rumi Mosque due to encroachment at Gulshan-i-Zafar. Zaman Town was flooded due to encroachments there. It was pointed out that most of the previous year problematic areas remained normal because their issues were addressed.

On July 26, it rained more than 86mm within an hour resulting in accumulation of rainwater in Gulistan-i-Jauhar where a private educational institution had encroached upon the drain whose desilting could not be done.

The LG minister said that the Green Line infrastructure disconnected old drainage systems in Gujjar Nullah, which caused flooding in the area.

The meeting was told that on July 27, it rained over 74mm in one hour. The water from hill torrents inundated Orangi Town and caused Gujjar Nullah to overflow. Due to the Green Line, rainwater inundated KDA Chowrangi, Sakhi Hassan and Nagan Chowrangi. Heavy rains in Orangi Town inundated Kashmir Mohalla, a low-lying katchi abadi.

WB intervention

The meeting was told that the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation had 38 drains and they all were being cleaned under a World Bank project called SWEEP.

Apart from KMC, the district municipal corporations had 514 smaller nullahs and they were responsible for the cleaning for which the Sindh government was providing them additional funds.

There are also some drains of the cantonment boards and the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board in the city.

Talking about the World Bank’s intervention for improvement of solid waste collection and disposal system in the city, Mr Shah said that under the SWEEP scheme storm-water drains in the city were being cleaned.

The Sindh government invested an amount equal to $8 million from its own sources which would be reimbursed by the WB. It had released Rs200m as a stopgap arrangement for cleaning the drains, he added.

The meeting was informed that Gujjar Nullah in district Central, Mehmoodabad Nullah in district East, Songal Nullah in district Malir/East and City Nullah, Pitcher Nullah, Kalri Nullah in district South had been cleaned.

It was told that 3,966,193 tonnes of sludge had been disposed of from six districts — 822,995 tonnes from Central, 973,009 West, 368,309 South-1, 664,631 South-2, 804,279 East, 187,937 Malir and 145,033 tonnes from Korangi.

The corps commander and NDMA chairman assured the chief minister that they would support the provincial government in rectifying the design defects of the drains and the Green Line project.

They also assured the provincial government that it would be supported in removal of encroachments along the drains.

The chief minister thanked the corps commander and NDMA chief for their support.

Published in Dawn, August 1st, 2020