Murad rules out imposition of Article 149 in Karachi

Updated 04 Aug 2020

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A Rangers trooper keeps watch as a heavy machine takes out sludge from Gujjar nullah on Monday. This operation is being carried out by the NDMA and FWO under the prime minister’s orders.—Fahim Siddiqi/White Star
A Rangers trooper keeps watch as a heavy machine takes out sludge from Gujjar nullah on Monday. This operation is being carried out by the NDMA and FWO under the prime minister’s orders.—Fahim Siddiqi/White Star

KARACHI: Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah on Monday said that some “politically immature orphans” were talking about imposition of Article 149 of the Constitution to bring Karachi under federal government’s rule but it was not at all possible.

He said this while talking to the media after visiting different districts of the city to review offal-lifting work and ongoing desilting of storm-water drains. Education Minister Saeed Ghani, Local Government Minister Nasir Shah and Law Adviser Murtaza Wahab also accompanied him.

When asked to comment on the reported statements of a federal minister and some other “responsible” people that Karachi would be given under the administrative control of the federal government by exercising Article 149 of the Constitution, the chief minister said that it was beyond his comprehension.

Asks media not to take ‘political orphans’ seriously; visits city to monitor offal removal, desilting work

“It is a bubble of hot air and will fizzle out itself,” he said and advised the media not to take “politically immature orphans” seriously.

Green Line ‘defects’

To another question, Mr Shah said that during the recent heavy rains of July 26 and 27, rainwater accumulated and flooded those areas where traditionally it used to be drained in gravity.

“During my visit I met the people of district Central and they pointed out design defects in Green Line project,” he said and added that DMC-Central chairman Rehan Hashmi gave him a detailed briefing on the defects of the project showing all those areas where the pillars of its infrastructure had either been constructed within or along the drains blocking drainage of rainwater.

The CM urged the Sindh Infrastructure Development Company Ltd (SIDCL) to consult with the local people before launching any project. “A discussion will reduce the chances of duplication of the works and design defects,” he said.

Briefing the CM at the Saifee College, Mr Hashmi said that the pillar of Green Line project had been constructed within the drain. “This construction has badly narrowed down the drain, therefore rainwater could not get through, as a result the drain overflowed and flooded the entire area,” he said.

He added that the entire track of Green Line from KDA Chowrangi to Nagan Chowrangi had been constructed in or close to drains.

He said that this was a serious design defect and without rectifying it the area could not be made safe from havoc of heavy downpour.

Mr Hashmi said the Hyderi Market was inundated because the drain was blocked due to the construction of the Green Line.

The chief minister assured the DMC-Central chairman that he would take up the matter with the federal government to resolve the issue.

Streets flooded by sewage-mixed rainwater

When the CM reached Gujjar nullah at Liaquatabad No 4, people of the area gathered there and informed him that rainwater had choked the drain and as a result it, mixed with sewage, gushed into their streets and houses.

He called the municipal commissioner-Central and directed him to clear the homes and report to him.

He also visited offal-collection point set up near Eidgah Ground in Nazimabad.

He visited Nagan Chowrangi, KDA Chowrangi and Hyderi Market and inspected the problematic points of Green Line.

WB funds for desilting not yet released

Mr Shah said that he had been releasing funds to clean the drains for the past many years. “Yes, the nullahs are being cleaned every year but due to encroachment issues some portions are always left from clearing. Therefore, they get choked during heavy rains,” he said.

He said that under the World Bank’s SWEEP project, the drains of the city were being cleaned.

“I am telling the people loudly that the World Bank has not released funds so far and the funds being utilised have been released by my government from its own resources,” he said.

He added that he would redress all the major issues of drainage and infrastructure in consultation with the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation and Karachi Development Authority.

He said he would visit Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas and Tharparkar where the next spell of rain was anticipated to hit from Aug 6.

He visited the Mehmoodabad nullah, known as Zahri House nullah, on Sharea Faisal where a major choking point was dug up.

SWEEP project director Zubair Channa told the chief minister that the drain coming from Tipu Sultan was clear but it had a serious choking point underneath Sharea Faisal

The CM examined the portion of the drain and noticed that the design was in a zigzag shape. “This zigzag nullah under the road will always remain problematic so a straight crossing should be constructed under the road along the existing zigzag culvert,” he said.

Offal removal

The chief minister visited an offal-dumping site in Qayyumabad where a camp was set up to record the weight of offal being brought there.

Briefing him, Sindh Solid Waste Management Board chief Kashif Gulzar said that over 31,050 tonnes of offal had been lifted from six districts of the city, including 7,892 tonnes from South, 9,351 tonnes East, 3,738 tonnes Malir, 5,918 tonnes West and 4,151 tonnes from Korangi while the figure of district Central was yet to be compiled.

Mr Shah was told that 85 offal-collection points had been set up all over the city from where they were being dumped at landfill sites in Gondpass, Jam Chakro near Sharafi Goth, and Korangi Crossing.

Published in Dawn, August 4th, 2020