Murad tells centre to fund K-IV, S-III, not micro-level projects

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Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah visits Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas to review rain emergency measures. — DawnNewsTV/File
Sindh CM Murad Ali Shah visits Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas to review rain emergency measures. — DawnNewsTV/File

HYDERABAD: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah has urged the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) government to fund megaprojects like K-IV and S-III instead of making allocations to the federal government’s Public Sector Development Programme (PSDP) for micro-level works in the provincial constituencies.

Sindh was being constantly blamed for federal government’s incapacity to manage the country, he remarked while talking to reporters after attending a briefing on rain emergency measures here on Tuesday in Shahbaz Hall.

He deplored that there had not been a single rupee raise in federal government’s revenue and statistics achieved in fiscal year (FY) 2017-18 remained unchanged in FY 2018-19 and FY 2019-20.

After visiting Mirpurkhas to keep himself abreast of rain emergency measures, he arrived here to chair a similar meeting attended by the departments of irrigation, public health engineering (PHE), works and services, Hyderabad Electric Supply Company (Hesco) and others.

The CM said the Hesco chief executive officer had assured him that out of 26 pumping facilities of the Water and Sanitation Agency (Wasa), 23 would get dual power source in view of the previous year’s

CM visits Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas to review rain emergency measures

experience during rain when interruption in electricity supply had caused urban flooding. For the rest, he said, Wasa was asked to bring in more generators and pumps to drain out rainwater.

He said issues in drains’ desilting were being addressed to make sure that the rainwater was drained out as quickly as possible. If there was more rainfall than anticipated, the rainwater might accumulate in some areas, but it would be drained out eventually.

The Provincial Disaster Mana­gement Authority and administration had been tasked to prepare themselves and identify vulnerable points accordingly, he said.

Mr Shah said the PHE had been tasked to take care of cities under its administrative jurisdiction to provide relief to people in the rain emergency.

He dismissed the impression that a war was going on between the Sindh government and media over flooding in Karachi. If the media got influenced from somewhere that was a different matter, he observed. “You guys are our friends,” he told reporters.

Admitting that rainfall caused problems in Karachi, the CM said he would not like to delve into politics over the issues involving the ruling coalition parties. He wanted to stay away from it and focus on work, he added.

He said Karachi’s storm-water system was designed to cope with 30mm of rainfall in 24 hours, but 80mm to 85mm of rains were recorded in some areas in one and a half hour. Even then, he said, that problem should not have been caused.

Recently Karachi’s Central district witnessed a major problem during rainfall and the District Municipal Corporation (DMC) Central chairman himself identified the trouble spots, he said.

The CM said water from the hills in the district entered Gujjar nullah where connecting drains faced blockades for some reasons known to the media. Some diversions were raised for building structure in Central, which was a wrong methodology, he said.

He conceded that there was laxity in desilting of drains this year, which was being looked into by the minister concerned.

The CM was accompanied by Sindh Information Minister Nasir Shah, Saghir Qureshi, and MPAs Sharjeel Inam Memon, Abdul Jabbar Khan, Jam Khan Shoro and MNA Hussain Tariq Shah.

PTI govt should fund megaprojects

In reply to a question, the CM said Imran Khan took notice of Karachi’s flooding on Aug 2 or 3 by sending the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) chairman. “Their help is more than welcome,” he said.

Referring to his discussion with the NDMA head, he said the visiting official was told that the Sindh government was doing everything possible.

He said the Sindh government was supporting the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC), but the assistance was not up to the mark due to Sindh government’s resource constraints.

The Sindh government had discussed a plan with the World Bank, which included component of drains’ desilting. Since there was a delay in approval, the Sindh government spent money as per WB’s specifications for the component.

He said the Frontier Works Organisation was taking care of three out of the 38 drains in Karachi for which he was thankful to it as he was also told that the federal government would bear its expenses.

“I have told the PM that if he really wants to assist Sindh [government], he should come up with megaprojects. What is the purpose of including allocations in the PSDP for lining of streets or building small drains in provincial constituencies or at mohalla level? Why don’t you bring mega schemes like K-IV and Sewerage-III projects? This leads to civic problems as the local authorities are not consulted in constituencies by the federal government,” he said.

For the Green Line project, the DMC Central chairman had written a letter (to the federal government), identifying issues

but in vain and the funding issue was certainly there. “Not a single rupee increase is seen in federal revenue over the past two years whereas price hike had increased. I wonder how we will make both ends meet,” he argued.

The CM observed that the state of finances had not improved in the past two years, still Sindh was being blamed for it.

He agreed with a questioner that service delivery by civic agencies like Wasa had weakened.

Published in Dawn, August 5th, 2020